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Gebrehawariat v. Seattle City Light

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

May 22, 2019

BETHEAL HABTE GEBREHAWARIAT, Plaintiff,
v.
SEATTLE CITY LIGHT, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT SEATTLE CITY LIGHT'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY AND EXTEND DEADLINES

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Seattle City Light's Motion to Compel Discovery and Extend Deadlines. Dkt. #36. Defendant Seattle City Light (“City Light”) served discovery requests more than a year ago, the requests have gone unanswered, and City Light now seeks responses to the requests and an extension of certain deadlines in this case. Id. Plaintiff has not responded. For the following reasons, the Court grants City Light's Motion, in part.

         II. BACKGROUND

         During the pendency of this matter, Plaintiff has proceeded both with counsel and pro se. On May 16, 2018, while Plaintiff was proceeding pro se, City Light served him with its First Interrogatories & Requests for Production. Dkt. #37 at ¶ 3. Plaintiff requested and was granted several extensions while he sought to retain counsel. Id. at ¶ 4. After retaining counsel in September 2018, City Light continued to grant extensions to pursue settlement negotiations. Id. at 5-6. When settlement talks stalled, City Light sought responses to the outstanding discovery and attempted to schedule Plaintiff's deposition. Id. at ¶¶ 8-9. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff's counsel sought to withdraw and ultimately did so on April 18, 2019. Dkt. #35. City Light thereafter attempted to communicate with Plaintiff about the outstanding discovery requests and scheduling his deposition. Dkt. #37 at ¶¶ 23-26.

         Of primary importance, the parties did confer by telephone prior to City Light filing this Motion on April 29, 2019. Id. at ¶ 26. Plaintiff indicated that he believed that documents included with a prior settlement demand[1] were responsive and that he was not willing to provide further responses, to either interrogatories or requests for production, or schedule his deposition until after he retained new legal counsel. Id. Plaintiff was not able to provide a date upon which he would retain new legal counsel or by which he could provide responses and schedule his deposition. Id. Accordingly, City Light brought this Motion. Plaintiff has not responded.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Compel

         1. Legal Standard

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26:

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.

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). If 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. 1997).

         2. Discussion

         Plaintiff has not responded to this Motion. Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 7, “if a party fails to file papers in opposition to a motion, such failure may be considered by the court as an admission that the motion has merit.” LCR 7(b)(2). The Court accordingly does so. Further, City Light's discovery requests have been outstanding for over a year and Plaintiff has provided no indication when he will respond to them or when he will consent to his deposition. It is Plaintiff's duty to provide requested discovery, unless, if he feels a request is not appropriate, he timely objects and/or seeks relief from the Court. Plaintiff has not sought relief from the Court, has not provided any basis for the ...


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