United States District Court, W.D. Washington
Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge
the Court are several motions filed by plaintiff: (1) motion
for contempt (Dkt. 63); (2) motion for default (Dkt. 66); (3)
motion to compel discovery (Dkt. 67); (4) motion for personal
service (Dkt. 69); and (5) motion for copy of the docket
sheet (Dkt. 74). Plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel is
not yet ripe for the Court's review. Dkt. 81. For the
reasons stated below, the Court denies plaintiff's motion
for contempt, motion for default, and motion for personal
service. The Court grants plaintiff's motion to compel
and motion for copy of the docket sheet.
Motion for Default Judgment (Dkt. 66)
moves for the Court to enter default judgment against
defendant Williamson. Dkt. 66. Under Rule 55(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, judgment by default may be
entered “[w]hen a party against whom a judgment for
affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise
defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or otherwise,
the clerk must enter the party's default.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Rule 55(b) provides that a default
judgment may be sought after default has been entered against
a defendant. See also N.Y. Life Ins. Co. v.
Brown, 84 F.3d 137 (5th Cir.1996), Default judgments are
generally disfavored and “[c]ases should be decided
upon their merits whenever reasonably possible.”
Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1472 (9th Cir.1986);
see also TCI, 244 F.3d at 693 (recognizing
“the long-standing principle that default judgments are
response to plaintiff's motion, defendant Williamson
states that he was on medical leave due to a serious illness
until March 1, 2017. Dkt. 76. Defendant Williamson was served
with plaintiff's complaint on January 31, 2017, but
planned to take care of the lawsuit when he returned to work
on March 1, 2017. Id. Defendant Williamson has
recently returned to work and been able to resume to his
regular routine. Id. Defendant Williamson filed an
answer and his attorney has entered an appearance on his
behalf. Dkts. 71, 73.
the Court finds that plaintiff cannot show any prejudice in
defendant Williamson's delay in filing an answer. This
case is in the early stages of litigation. Plaintiff has been
able to conduct discovery against the other named defendants
and the Court recently extended the discovery deadline to
July 5, 2017. Dkt. 62. Therefore, plaintiff has not been
hindered in his ability to pursue his claims. Second,
defendant Williamson was undergoing treatment for a serious
medical condition, and this suggests that he did not act
culpably in failing to respond to plaintiff's complaint.
Lastly, defendant Williamson has filed an answer, denying the
allegations in plaintiff's complaint. Thus, defendant
Williamson should be able to argue the merits of the case and
the Court denies plaintiff's motion for default judgment
(Dkt. 66). 2. Motion for Contempt (Dkt. 63)
addition to seeking default judgment against defendant
Williamson, plaintiff also filed a motion for contempt. Dkt.
63. Plaintiff asserts because defendant Williamson failed to
file a timely response to plaintiff's complaint,
defendant Williamson should also be held in contempt of
district court has the power to adjudge in civil contempt any
person who willfully disobeys a specific and definite order
of the court.” Gifford v. Heckler, 741 F.2d
263, 265 (9th Cir.1984). Civil contempt consists of a
party's disobedience to “a specific and definite
court order by failure to take all reasonable steps within
the party's power to comply.” Reno Air Racing
Ass'n, Inc. v. McCord, 452 F.3d 1126, 1130 (9th Cir.
2006). To succeed on a motion for civil contempt, the moving
party must “show by clear and convincing evidence that
[the nonmoving party] violated the [court order] beyond
substantial compliance, and that the violation was not based
on a good faith and reasonable interpretation of the
[order].” Wolfard Glassblowing Co. v.
Vanbragt, 118 F.3d 1320, 1322 (9th Cir. 1997).
discussed above, defendant Williamson has filed an answer in
this matter and counsel has entered an appearance on his
behalf. Dkts. 71, 73. Plaintiff shows no basis for an order
of contempt as there is no court order that is being
willfully violated. Thus, the Court denies plaintiff's
motion (Dkt. 63).
Motion to Compel Discovery (Dkt. 67)
seeks an order compelling defendants to provide him with a
video from July 30, 2015 in the prison dining hall. Dkt. 67.
may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged,
that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Information is relevant for purposes
of discovery if “it is reasonably calculated to lead to
the discovery of admissible evidence.” Id.
Relevant information encompasses “any matter that bears
on, or that reasonably could lead to other matter that could
bear on, any issue that is or may be in the case.”
Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351
(1978). Because discovery is designed to define and clarify
the issues in the case, it is not limited to the precise
issues raised in the pleadings. Id., at 350-51.
“The question of relevancy should be construed
“liberally and with common sense” and discovery
should be allowed unless the information sought has no
conceivable bearing on the case.” Soto v. City of
Concord, 162 F.R.D. 603, 610 (N.D.Cal.1995), quoting
Miller v. Panuci, 141 F.R.D. 292, 296 (C.D.Cal.1992).
contends that the video will show whether defendant
Roberts' actions were taken in retaliation, which is at
issue in this case. Dkt. 67. Plaintiff contends that the
video will show defendant Roberts' “highly
aggressive body language” and that defendant Roberts
had no intention of infracting plaintiff until plaintiff said
he would file a grievance, evidenced by the fact that
defendant Roberts did not take plaintiff's information
until plaintiff approached him. Id. at 3. According
to defendants, the surveillance video is not necessary to
establish any aspect of plaintiff's retaliation claim.
Defendants argue that defendant Roberts does not dispute that
he wrote an infraction and obtained ...