United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Compel Discovery Responses. Dkt. #48. Defendants assert that,
despite numerous extensions of time to respond, Plaintiff has
failed to provide complete answers to many of their
Interrogatories and Requests for Production, and they are
long overdue. Id.
September 7, 2017, Defendants served Plaintiff with
Defendants' First Interrogatories and Request for
Production. Dkt. #49, Ex. 3. Answers to those Interrogatories
were therefore due October 11, 2017, but Plaintiff did not
provide them. At that time, Defendants agreed to an
additional one month extension for Plaintiff to answer,
making Plaintiff's responses due on November 13, 2017.
Dkt. #48. Plaintiff failed to answer the discovery within
that time. However, on November 22, 2017, after suffering a
medical illness, Plaintiff moved the Court for an additional
extension to answer the Interrogatories, which the Court
granted, allowing Plaintiff until January 4, 2018, to
respond. Dkt. #44. When Plaintiff did not respond, Defendants
requested that she properly answer discovery by January 26,
2018. Dkt. #49, Ex. 2. Defendants continue to await complete
discovery responses to this date.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1):
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
requested discovery is not answered, the requesting party may
move for an order compelling such discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(1). “The party who resists discovery has the
burden to show that discovery should not be allowed, and has
the burden of clarifying, explaining, and supporting its
objections.” Cable & Computer Tech., Inc. v.
Lockheed Sanders, Inc., 175 F.R.D. 646, 650 (C.D. Cal.
has untimely responded to the instant motion, admitting that
she has refused to respond to discovery, but stating that the
reason she has done so is because she seeks a protective
order to govern her responses. Dkt. #50. She also states that
she will only disclose her medical records if they “are
sealed from the public, ” and will only release the
information if the “judge is present when [Defendants]
see it.” Id.
does not appear to understand the Rules of Civil procedure,
her obligations in this litigation or the scope and authority
of the Court with respect to discovery. It is Plaintiff's
duty to provide requested discovery, unless, if she feels a
request is not appropriate, she timely objects and/or seeks
relief from the Court. She did not do so in this matter. In
fact, on January 8, 2018, in seeking an extension of time to
propound her own discovery, she represented to the Court that
she had already fully responded to Defendants' discovery
requests. Dkt. #45.
Defendants have agreed to enter into a Protective Order
governing her discovery responses, yet Plaintiff has
apparently refused to discuss such an Order with opposing
counsel. A good faith discussion with opposing counsel
regarding discovery is an obligation that Plaintiff must
fulfill. Further, Plaintiff appears to be under the mistaken
impression that her discovery responses will become public
upon sending them to Defendants. This is not the case.
Discovery responses are not filed on the public docket, and
they are not filed with the Court unless or until a party
files particular documents to support a specific motion.
Medical records are almost always filed under seal in those
instances. Additionally, a Protective Order would govern how
other sensitive material is handled. Finally, the Court does
not supervise counsel in reviewing discovery responses, and
will not do so in this case.
has been granted multiple extensions to properly answer the
discovery propounded by Defendants. However, Plaintiff has
failed to provide complete responses without a Court Order.
Plaintiff has put her medical information at issue through
the type of claims she is making, and now must disclose that
information to opposing counsel. Further, she must disclose
the names and contact information of witnesses to her
allegations or those she anticipates will testify in this
case. Plaintiff cannot refuse to fulfill her discovery duties
by refusing to respond without a Court order. The Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure require her to respond to
appropriate discovery requests on her own accord.
Therefore, the Court hereby COMPELS Plaintiff to
fully and truthfully respond to Defendants' discovery
requests as set forth below.
seeks its costs and fees in bringing this motion. Dkt. #48 at
5. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 provides that if a
motion to compel is granted, “the court must, after
giving an opportunity to be heard, require the party or
deponent whose conduct necessitated the motion, the party or
attorney advising that conduct, or both to pay the
movant's reasonable expenses incurred in making the
motion, including attorney's fees.” Rule
37(a)(5)(A). While the Court acknowledges that Plaintiff is
proceeding pro se in this matter, the Court has also
informed Plaintiff on numerous occasions in this litigation
that she must comply with the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and respond to discovery. She must fulfill those
obligations even if uncomfortable for her. The discovery
requested by Defendants does not require a court order or
that the Court supervise Defendants in reviewing her
response, and it was improper for Plaintiff to refuse to
produce responses without Court intervention. Accordingly,
the Court will grant Defendants' request for their
expenses in bringing this motion.
the Court hereby finds and ORDERS:
1) Defendants' Motion to Compel (Dkt. #48) is GRANTED.
No later than fourteen (14) days from the date of
this Order, Plaintiff shall serve on Defendants her complete
responses to Defendants' Interrogatories and Requests for
Production. Those responses SHALL NOT be filed with the
Court. Plaintiff is warned that refusing to produce her
responses may result in sanctions, including the dismissal of
2) Defendants' request for attorney's fees and costs
is GRANTED. Defendants shall file a Supplemental Motion for
Attorney's Fees, supported with a Declaration of its fees
associated with their Motion to Compel no later than
fourteen (14) days from the date of this Order. That
motion shall be noted for the second Friday after it is
filed. Plaintiff may file a Response no later
than the Monday before ...