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Hooker v. Campbell

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

November 2, 2017

RUBY HOOKER, ET AL.
v.
RICKY CAMPBELL, ET AL.

          MARK L. HORNSBY MAG. JUDGE.

          RULING

          ROBERT G. JAMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is an appeal of a magistrate judge order, styled as “Objections to Magistrate's Memorandum Opinion, ” [Doc. No. 53] filed by Plaintiffs Ruby Hooker and Alice Hooker. Defendant Franklin Parish Police Jury opposes Plaintiffs' appeal. [Doc. No. 55]. For reasons assigned below, the appeal is DENIED, and the Magistrate Judge's Order [Doc. No. 52] is AFFIRMED.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Defendant filed two motions to compel. Defendant filed the first motion on March 3, 2017, alleging that Plaintiffs failed to respond to discovery, even after an extension of time. [Doc. No. 28]. Defendant added that its counsel called and emailed Plaintiffs' counsel prior to filing the motion, but counsel failed to respond. Id. On March 6, 2017, Magistrate Judge Hornsby granted the motion but declined to award attorneys' fees. [Doc. No. 29].

         Defendant filed a second motion on August 18, 2017, seeking to compel Plaintiffs to respond to the following interrogatory, which is comprised of four subparts:

a) Please underline the exact part of each document you will rely on to establish any of the claims of your Complaint;
b) Please explain how underlined part [sic] of each document establishes the alleged discrimination against you by the Franklin Parish Police Jury; or
c) If the underlined part of each document does not establish discrimination against you by the Franklin Parish Police Jury, please explain how the underlined part of each document otherwise establishes any fact alleged in your Complaint; and
d) Please return the underlined copies (with your explanation referenced immediately above) to undersigned counsel.

[Doc. Nos. 36; 36-4, p. 1-2]. Like before, Defendant alleged that, despite granting Plaintiffs an extension of time, Plaintiffs did not respond to the interrogatory, and their counsel did not respond to calls or emails. [Doc. No. 36].

         On August 21, 2017, the Magistrate Judge granted the second motion and ordered Plaintiffs to respond to the interrogatory and to pay Defendant $400.00 in attorneys' fees. [Doc. No. 38]. The Magistrate Judge awarded attorneys' fees “[b]ecause this was the second time the court had to order Plaintiffs to respond to discovery . . . .” Id.

         On August 29, 2017, Plaintiffs moved the Magistrate Judge to reconsider the August 21, 2017 Order, arguing that the interrogatory sought their counsel's work product and mental impressions. Id. [Doc. No. 40-2]. On September 29, 2017, the Magistrate Judge denied the motion and opined:

It was only after the court's order was issued that Plaintiffs asserted objections to the discovery at issue in the ...

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