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Santiago v. Gage

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

July 26, 2019

MARCO SANTIAGO, Plaintiff,
v.
BRUCE C. GAGE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL

          J. RICHARD CREATURA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, who proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this matter under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter is before the Court on defendants' motion to compel. See Dkt. 34. Because defendants timely filed their motion to compel and because some of plaintiff's responses to defendants' interrogatories improperly referred defendants to the allegations of the first amendment complaint, defendants' motion to compel responses to those interrogatories is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff initiated this matter in October 2018. See Dkt. 1. Plaintiff, who is a male to female transgender prisoner at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center (Dkt. 20, at 1) alleges that defendants, three Department of Corrections employees, violated her right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. See Dkt. 20, at 2.

         The deadline to complete discovery was June 7, 2019. See Dkt. 24. On June 6, defendants requested that this Court compel plaintiff to respond to certain interrogatories. See Dkt. 34, at 1. Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 37(a)(1), defendants certify that on June 6, they met and conferred with plaintiff in good faith, in order to attempt to resolve the dispute without court action. See Dkt. 34, at 2. The parties have also filed cross-motions for summary judgment, which this Court will make a recommendation on at a later date. See Dkts. 33, 38.

         DISCUSSION

         At issue is whether this Court should compel plaintiff to respond to six interrogatories.

         I. Legal Principles

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide,
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).

         When a party fails to answer an interrogatory under Rule 33, 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)(2)(C).

         II. Timeliness

         As a preliminary issue, the Court addresses plaintiff's argument that defendants' motion to compel is untimely and therefore should be denied. See Dkt. 36, at 2. Defendants' motion to compel was filed the day before the discovery cutoff and was therefore timely under this Court's local civil rules (see Local Civil Rule 16(b)(3)) and scheduling order. See Dkt. 24. Indeed, defendants filed their motion to compel nine days after receiving plaintiff's responses and the same day that the parties met and conferred. See Dkt. 35, at 1. The undersigned is also aware of at least one other occasion in which this District has allowed a motion to compel filed one day before ...


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