United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery (R.
Doc. 66) filed on March 29, 2018. Through this motion to
compel, Harold Joe Black (“Plaintiff”), who is
proceeding pro se, seeks an order requiring the
Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections
(“LDPSC”) to respond to certain discovery
requests. Plaintiff represents that he served the discovery
requests at issue on February 21, 2018. LDPSC opposes the
motion to compel on the basis that Plaintiff's discovery
requests were not signed and Plaintiff did not confer in good
faith prior to filing the instant motion. (R. Doc. 67).
before the Court is Plaintiff's “Motion Correction
to Docs. 51, 52, & 53” (R. Doc. 70) filed on April
26, 2018. Through this motion, Plaintiff appears to request
an order “correcting” certain discovery requests
filed into the record (R. Docs. 51, 52, and 53). (R. Doc.
70). The deadline for filing a response to this motion has
not expired. LR 7(f).
March 22, 2018, Plaintiff filed his first motion to compel
(R. Doc. 49) seeking a court order requiring LDPSC to respond
to certain discovery requests subsequently filed in the
record. (See R. Docs. 50, 51, 52, and 53). The Court
denied the motion on the basis that Plaintiff did not hold a
Rule 37(a)(1) discovery conference prior to filing his motion
to compel and the record indicated that the motion to compel
was filed prior to service of the underlying discovery
requests. (R. Docs. 56, 60).
37(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides
that any motion to compel “must include a certification
that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to
confer with the person or party failing to make disclosure or
discovery in an effort to obtain it without court
action.” Failure to comply with the meet and confer
requirement may constitute sufficient reason to deny a motion
to compel. Shaw Grp. Inc. v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co.,
No. 12-257, 2014 WL 4373197, at *3 (M.D. La. Sept. 3, 2014);
see also Forever Green Athletic Fields, Inc. v. Babcock
Law Firm, LLC, No. 11-633 (M.D. La. July 2, 2014)
(denying motion to compel where defense counsel made a single
attempt by email to meet and confer and did not do so in a
good faith effort to resolve the dispute without court
submitted a “Certificate of Good Faith Attempts to
Resolve Discovery Dispute” with his motion to compel.
(R. Doc. 66-2). The certificate represents that Plaintiff
served his discovery requests on February 21, 2018, and that
LDPSC had not provided responses by March 23, 2018. (R. Doc.
66-2). The certificate does not, however, specify any good
faith attempts by Plaintiff to resolve the instant discovery
dispute prior to the filing of the instant motion.
has provided evidence that on March 22, 2018, Plaintiff sent
an e-mail to defense counsel at 11:22 p.m. with
“requesting discovery, defendant addresses” in
the subject line (R. Doc. 67-3) and a subsequent e-mail to
defense counsel at 11:37 p.m. with “discovery request,
Willis didn't responded” in the subject line,
attaching copies of certain unsigned discovery requests (R.
Doc. 67-1). There is no substantive text in the body of these
e-mails. On March 23, 2018, defense counsel stated that the
discovery requests had been received, that defense counsel
was “working to gather the information needed to
respond” to Plaintiff's discovery requests, and
that a response would be provided in accordance with the
discovery deadlines. (R. Doc. 67-4 at 1). Plaintiff mailed
the instant motion to the Court on March 23, 2018. (R. Doc.
on the foregoing, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not
satisfied the requirements of Rule 37(a)(1). Accordingly, the
motion will be denied on that basis.
addition, Rule 26(g)(1) provides, in relevant part, that
“every discovery request . . . must be signed . . . by
the party personally, if unrepresented . . . and must state
the signer's address, e-mail address, and telephone
number.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(g)(1). The signature
requirement is not an empty formality. “By signing [a]
party certifies that to the best of the person's
knowledge, information, and belief formed after a reasonable
inquiry” the discovery request is “(i) consistent
with [the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure] and warranted by
existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending,
modifying, or reversing existing law, or for establishing new
law; (ii) not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to
harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the
cost of litigation; and (iii) neither unreasonable nor unduly
burdensome or expensive, considering the needs of the case,
prior discovery in the case, the amount in controversy, and
the importance of the issues at stake in the action.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(g)(1)(B). “If a certification violates
this rule without substantial justification, the court, on
motion or on its own, must impose an appropriate sanction on
the signer, the party on whose behalf the signer was acting,
or both. The sanction may include an order to pay the
reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, caused by
the violation.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(g)(3). Finally, the
opposing party has “no duty to act” on an
unsigned discovery request “until it is signed, and the
court must strike it unless a signature is promptly supplied
after the omission is called to the . . . party's
attention.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(g)(2).
Court will not require LDPSC to respond to the discovery
requests that are the subject of the instant motion to compel
(R. Doc. 66-4) on the basis that they were not signed
pursuant to Rule 26(g). Plaintiff must sign any future
discovery requests served in this action, and provide his
address, e-mail address, and telephone number, as required by
Rule 26(g)(1). Any future motion to compel filed by Plaintiff
must attach copies of the discovery requests at issue to
demonstrate that they were signed prior to service.
Court will not modify the discovery requests previously filed
into the record. As previously explained to Plaintiff,
discovery requests must not be filed with the Court unless
they are used in the proceeding or the Court orders filing.
See June 23, 2017 Notice and Order (R. Doc. 33);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 5(d)(1). Furthermore, the proposed
“corrected” documents (R. Doc. 70-3) are not
identical to the discovery requests previously filed into the
record (R. Docs. 51, 52, and 53) and the submitted set of
interrogatories remains unsigned (R. Doc. 70-3 at 5-6)
must sign any future discovery requests in this action as
required by Rule 26(g) and must serve those requests in a
manner allowed by Rule 5(b). Upon service of properly signed
discovery requests, the party served with discovery will have
30 days to respond to the discovery requests as allowed by
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 33(b)(2); 34(b)(2)(A); 36(a)(3).
foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that
Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery (R. Doc. 66) is
DENIED. The parties shall bear their own
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff's
“Motion Correction to Docs. 51, 52, & ...