Tyler, Matthew v. Wick, Stephanie et al
Order GRANTING defendants' 129 Motion for protection from plaintiff's January 2016 discovery requests and to stay discovery pending resolution of immunity issues. Signed by Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker on 1/26/2016. (elc),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
STEPHANIE WICK, DEBORAH MCCULLOCH,
ROBERT KNEEPKENS and WILLIAM PARKER,
In a December 4, 2015 order, the court dismissed plaintiff Matthew Tyler’s claims
against defendant Agent Stephanie Lutz1 that she had provided false information at plaintiff’s
revocation hearing, but the court granted plaintiff’s request to recognize that his complaint
included due process claims against defendants Agent Lutz, Deborah McCulloch, Robert
Kneepkens and William Parker for depriving him of a property interest in his personal property
and money. The due process claims are the only claims remaining in the case. The dispositive
motions deadline on these claims is February 8, 2016.
Defendants have filed a motion to stay discovery and for an order protecting them from
plaintiff’s discovery efforts. Dkt. 129. They argue that discovery should be stayed pending
resolution of immunity issues, that they have not been properly served with plaintiff’s most
recent discovery requests, and that by this point the requests were made too close to the
dispositive motions deadline for them to respond. On January 7, 2016, plaintiff submitted
discovery requests directly to the court despite the statement in the pretrial conference order
stating that “[t]he court does not want the parties to file their discovery material with the court,
except to support some other matter in this lawsuit, such as a summary judgment motion.” Dkt.
The court continues to refer to defendant Stephanie W ick as “Agent Lutz” because Lutz was her
surname during the events in question and the parties refer to her as such in their briefing.
13, at 9. Plaintiff responded, stating that he mistakenly construed the language in court’s pretrial
order stating that parties represented by the Department of Justice would agree to be served by
the electronic docketing of document submitted by pro se parties. Dkt. 132.
But plaintiff goes on to state, “I interpret your January 7, 2016 letter as information for
future filing, and that the Defendants’ attorney has received an electronic copy of my January
4, 2016 filing,” which I take to mean that he believes he has indeed properly served defendants
with those discovery requests, at least this one time. This is incorrect; the court does not allow
pro se parties to accomplish service of discovery requests in this way. Usually, a pro se party
must serve his opponents directly with those requests. I will grant defendants’ request for
protection from the January 2016 requests because plaintiff has not properly served them.
Lest this looks like I am glorifying form over substance, I note that I would stay discovery
in any event, pending resolution of immunity issues. Landstrom v. Illinois Dep't of Children &
Family Servs., 892 F.2d 670, 674 (7th Cir. 1990). I impose this discovery stay with this
understanding: as defendants concede, plaintiff is allowed to conduct specific, targeted discovery
that he needs to respond to the immunity-based arguments defendants preview in their current
motion (and that they will elaborate on in their motion for summary judgment). If plaintiff
believes that he needs such targeted discovery, he should file a motion requesting leave to take
that discovery, explaining how his discovery requests bear on the immunity issues raised by
defendants. Plaintiff should attach his proposed discovery requests to his motion for leave. The
court needs to see plaintiff’s proposed requests so that it can decide whether the requests are
appropriately targeted at immunity issues.
This procedure is an exception to the discovery service rule that I set out above. The
court will deem defendants to have been served with requests attached to a motion to conduct
discovery. As for plaintiff’s January 2016 requests, they are not targeted at immunity issues so
defendants do not need to respond to them at this time.
It is ORDERED that:
Defendants’ motion for protection from plaintiff’s January 2016
discovery requests, dkt. 129, is GRANTED.
Defendants’ motion to stay discovery pending resolution of
immunity issues, dkt. 129, is GRANTED.
Entered this 26th day of January, 2016.
BY THE COURT:
STEPHEN L. CROCKER
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?