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Laigo v. King County

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

October 12, 2017

BENJAMIN ANDREW LAIGO, III, Plaintiff,
v.
KING COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          THOMAS S. ZILLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of the Honorable Mary Alice Theiler, United States Magistrate Judge, docket no. 65. Having reviewed plaintiff's objections to the R&R, docket no. 66, defendant King County's response to plaintiff's objection, docket no. 67, and the relevant portions of the record, the Court enters the following order.

         Discussion

         Plaintiff Benjamin Andrew Laigo, III commenced this action, asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against King County, King County Jail (“KCJ”), and Harborview Medical Center (“HMC”). The claims against KCJ and HMC were dismissed because the jail was not a proper defendant and HMC, as an arm of the state, is immune from suit pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment. See Order at ¶¶ 1 & 2 (docket no. 5). Plaintiff's complaint was treated as naming, in addition to King County, the following defendants in their individual capacities: Henry C. Sagi, M.D., a physician at HMC, and various Does who are KCJ custody or transport officers, supervisors, or health service providers. See id. at 2 n.1 & ¶ 3. Dr. Sagi's motion for summary judgment was granted, and the claims against him were dismissed with prejudice. Order (docket no. 35).

         With respect to plaintiff's remaining claims against King County, the deadline for completing discovery was extended to May 31, 2017. See Order at ¶ 2 (docket no. 32). On May 28, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion to compel discovery, attached to which were interrogatories, requests for production (“RFPs”), and requests for admissions. See Pla.'s Mot. (docket no. 36). King County filed blanket refusals to respond to plaintiff's discovery requests on the ground that they were not served at least thirty (30) days before the discovery deadline. See Def.'s Resp. (docket nos. 44, 45, & 46). King County also made specific objections to some of the RFPs, including several objections that the requests were “vague, unduly burdensome, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” See Def.'s Resp. (docket nos. 45 & 46). The latter basis is, of course, no longer appropriate in light of the 2015 amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b).

         Magistrate Judge Theiler subsequently denied plaintiff's motion to compel because plaintiff had not provided King County sufficient time to respond to his discovery requests before filing his motion and had not certified that he had made a good faith effort to confer and resolve the discovery dispute before seeking judicial intervention. Order (docket no. 53). In the meanwhile, King County filed a motion for summary judgment. In response to such motion, plaintiff sought an extension pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d), although he referred to former Rule 56(f). Pla.'s Resp. (docket no. 55). Plaintiff also filed a “reply” in support of his motion to compel, but it was received after the motion was denied, and it instead reads like a motion for reconsideration. Pla.'s Reply (docket no. 56). In such filing, plaintiff explains that he had difficulty serving his discovery requests because his mail was either “withheld, distroyed [sic] or altered.” Id. at 4. Plaintiff also appears to renew his earlier request for appointment of counsel. See id. at 12, 15; see also Order (docket no. 27) (denying motion to appoint counsel). Before any ruling was issued on plaintiff's motion for an extension, and after the noting date of King County's motion for summary judgment, plaintiff filed a substantive response, docket no. 63, as well as a supplemental response, docket no. 64, to King County's motion.

         The R&R suggests that King County is the only remaining defendant because plaintiff has never identified the Doe defendants. The R&R further recommends that King County be relieved of any obligation to respond to the discovery requests in which plaintiff is seeking the names of Doe defendants.[1] The Court DECLINES to adopt these portions of the R&R. Rather, the Court treats plaintiff's “reply, ” docket no. 56, as a motion for reconsideration of Magistrate Judge Theiler's Order denying plaintiff's motion to compel discovery, docket no. 53, and DIRECTS King County to file, on or before October 27, 2017, a response, not to exceed eight (8) pages in length, concerning why it should not be required to answer RFP Nos. 3 & 8 (docket no. 45), as to which King County offered no objection other than the untimeliness of the request.[2] See Local Civil Rule 7(h)(3). No reply shall be filed by plaintiff unless otherwise directed by the Court.

         The R&R also recommends that plaintiff's Rule 56(d) request for extension be denied and that King County's motion for summary judgment be granted. The Court DEFERS ruling on these portions of the R&R. The Court, however, ADOPTS the R&R's recommendation that plaintiff's renewed motion for appointment of counsel be denied.

         Conclusion

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court ORDERS as follows:

(1) The R&R, docket no. 65, is ADOPTED in part, MODIFIED in part, and DEFERRED in part;
(2) Plaintiff's renewed motion for appointment of counsel, docket no. 56, is DENIED;
(3) Plaintiff's “reply, ” docket no. 56, is treated as a motion for reconsideration of Magistrate Judge Theiler's Order denying plaintiff's motion to compel discovery, docket no. 53, and King County ...

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