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Gsouri v. Clark County Jail

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

July 8, 2019

Haikel Gsouri, Plaintiff,
v.
Clark County Jail et al., Defendant.

          ORDER

          J. Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge.

         Before the Court plaintiff's motion to compel and request for extension. Dkt. 33. Plaintiff asks the Court to compel defendants to produce responses to Interrogatories 6, 8, 9, 19, and 20; RFPs H, M, and Q; and emails entitled “Exhibit B”. Dkt. 33.

         The Court denies the motion to compel because: (1) plaintiff did not include a certification that he conferred with counsel for defendants as to Interrogatories 6, 8, and 19 and RFPs M and Q before he filed his motion; (2) Exhibit B contains privileged information; (3) plaintiff has not shown that defendants are in possession of any additional documents or information related to Interrogatory No. 20; and (4) plaintiff has not shown how the discovery request in RFP H is relevant to this matter. The Court grants plaintiff's motion as to Interrogatory No. 9 because defendants' response is insufficient. The Court denies plaintiff's open-ended request for an extension to respond to future motions without prejudice, but if defendants file a motion and plaintiff needs more time to file his response, he may file a motion for extension at such a time. The Court also denies plaintiff's request for legal advice but directs the Clerk to send plaintiff a copy of the docket sheet which will include any pending motions. Also pending is defendants' motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 36), which will be addressed in a separately filed report and recommendation.

         A. Interrogatories 6, 8, and 19 and RFPs M and Q

         Plaintiff's motion includes a certificate that plaintiff has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with counsel for defendants as to some of his discovery requests. See Dkt. 33 at 4. However, plaintiff did not confer with counsel as to Interrogatories 6, 8, and 19 and RFPs M and Q. See Id. In response to plaintiff's motion, counsel for defendants submits a declaration, stating that plaintiff has not made any efforts to contact defendants regarding Interrogatories 6, 8, and 19 and RFPs M and Q and that the parties have not met and conferred with respect to these requests. Dkt. 33, 35 (Declaration of Leslie Lopez, Counsel for Defendants), Exhibit 3.

         While a party may apply to the court for an order compelling discovery, Fed.R.Civ.P. 37 and LCR 37(a)(1) require the movant to first meet and confer with the party failing to make disclosure or discovery in an effort to resolve the dispute without court action. In addition, when filing a motion to compel, the movant must include a certification, in the motion or in a declaration or affidavit, that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with party failing to make disclosure or discovery in an effort to resolve the dispute without court action. The certification must list the date, manner, and participants to the conference. If the movant fails to include such a certification, the Court may deny the motion without addressing the merits of the dispute. See LCR 37(a)(1).

         Plaintiff has failed to meet his requirements under the local court rule by not conferring with defendants' counsel by telephone or providing a certification of compliance with this rule with respect to Interrogatories 6, 8, and 19 and RFPs M and Q. Therefore, the Court denies plaintiff's motions to compel as to these discovery requests without prejudice.

         The Court notes that defendants also argue that they have responded to Interrogatories 6, 8, and 19 and RFPs M and Q. However, the Court declines to consider this alternative argument at this time.

         B. Exhibit B, Interrogatories 9 and 20, and RFP H

         As to Exhibit B, Interrogatories 9 and 20, and RFP H, defendants concede that plaintiff has satisfied the meet and confer requirement. See Dkts. 33, 34, 35. Therefore, the Court will address the merits of plaintiff's motion to compel as to these requests.

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that “[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense - including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons who know of any discoverable matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Id.

         When a party fails to answer an interrogatory under Rule 33 or fails to permit inspection of documents under Rule 34, the requesting party may move the court for an order compelling discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3). For purposes of such a motion, “an evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer, or response must be treated as a failure to disclose, answer, or respond.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(4). Furthermore, a court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery . . . [when] the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1)(C). A party is only required to produce documents in response to a request for production where those documents are “in the responding party's possession, custody, or control.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a).

         1. Exhibit B

         Plaintiff requests a Court order releasing redacted emails to him entitled “Exhibit B.” Dkt. 33. Plaintiff requests that the Court order release of “all those blocked email communication as they relate to me as you can see in the subject of the email.” Dkt. 33 at 2, Exhibit B. The emails that plaintiff refers to are emails between Jane ...


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