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Huval v. The Baton Rouge Police Dept. Through City of Baton Rouge

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

July 14, 2017




         Before the Court is Defendants Baton Rouge Police Department through the City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge, a political subdivision of the State of Louisiana, Cpl. Troy McCreary, and Officer Ory Holmes' (collectively, “Movants”) Motion to Compel Discovery (R. Doc. 17) filed on June 14, 2017. Plaintiff has not filed a response within the time allowed by Local Rule 7(f). Accordingly, the Motion is unopposed.

         I. Background

         This is a civil rights action initiated by Blake Huval (“Plaintiff”) in state court and subsequently removed by one of the defendants. (R. Doc. 1). Among other things, Plaintiff alleges that in light of injuries suffered during a wrongful arrest, he has sustained a loss of wages and wage-earning capacity. (R. Doc. 1-2 at 6).

         On May 9, 2017, Movants requested Plaintiff to supplement his responses to previously served discovery requests: Interrogatory Nos. 18 and 19, and Request for Production Nos. 1, 2, and 3. (R. Doc. 17-3 at 5-6). It is unclear from the record, however, when these previously served discovery requests were actually served on Plaintiff, and to what extent, if any, Plaintiff responded or objected to those discovery requests in a timely manner. That same day, Movants served a single Supplemental Request for Production of Documents on Plaintiff (“Request for Production No. 8”). (R. Doc. 17-3 at 7-10).

         Movants assert that pursuant to Rules 33(b)(2) and 34(b)(2)(A) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiff had until June 8, 2017 to respond to the request for supplemental responses and the supplemental request for production. (R. Doc. 17-1 at 1).

         On June 8, 2017, Movants' counsel sent an email to Plaintiff's counsel to check on the status of Plaintiff's responses. (R. Doc. 17-4 at 2). Plaintiff's counsel responded the next day that the responses would likely be provided by the beginning of the following week. (R. Doc. 17-4 at 2).

         On June 13, 2017, Movants' counsel attempted to contact Plaintiff's counsel to schedule a Rule 37(a)(1) conference, but was informed that Plaintiff's counsel was out of the country until June 23, 2017. (R. Doc. 17-4 at 1; R. Doc. 17-5).

         On June 14, 2017, the deadline to complete non-expert discovery, Movants filed the instant motion. (R. Doc. 17).

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Legal Standards

         “Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: 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). The court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery if it determines that: “(i) 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; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action; or (iii) the proposed discovery is outside the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C).

         “The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). Rule 26(c)'s “good cause” requirement indicates that the party seeking a protective order has the burden “to show the necessity of its issuance, which contemplates a particular and specific demonstration of fact as distinguished from stereotyped and conclusory statements.” In re Terra Int'l, Inc., 134 F.3d 302, 306 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting United States v. Garrett, 571 F.2d 1323, 1326 n.3 (5th Cir. 1978)).

         Rules 33 and 34 provide a party with 30 days after service of the discovery to respond or object. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(2) and 34(b)(2)(A). If a party fails to respond fully to discovery requests made pursuant as to Rules 33 and 34 in the time allowed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the party seeking discovery may move to compel disclosure and for appropriate sanctions under Rule 37. An “evasive or incomplete ...

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