United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Tacoma
November 06, 2007
Eric P. Blank, Jonathan Yeh, Blank Law & Technology PS, Seattle, WA, for Plaintiff.
Shannon M. Ragonesi, Keating Bucklin & McCormack, Seattle, WA, for Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT CITY OF PUYALLUP TO PRODUCE DISCOVERY AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION PLEADINGS
*1 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant City of Puyallup to Produce Discovery (Dkt.14) and Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's Opposition Pleadings (Dkt.20). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file herein.
On February 7, 2007, Plaintiff Brian Vaughn filed the complaint in the Superior Court of the State of Washington for Pierce County. Dkt. 1. Plaintiff alleges that he was constructively discharged from the Police department of Defendant City of Puyallup (“Defendant”) in violation of Plaintiff's rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id.
On February 27, 2007, this suit was removed to the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma (Dkt.1) and assigned to United States District Judge Robert J. Bryan on May 16, 2007. Dkt. 8.
On July 18, 2007, Plaintiff served Defendant with written discovery requests. Dkt 14 at 6. The parties disagree as to the extent and completeness of Defendant's production of electronic and written documents. Plaintiff contends that Defendant has been unwilling to search for responsive documents. See
Dkt. 14. at 5-8 (Plaintiff's detailed discovery timeline). Defendant counters that it has complied with Plaintiff's discovery requests and conducted discovery in good faith. Dkt 16 at 12. Moreover, Defendant claims that it has “agreed on several occasions to conduct additional searches for discovery.” Id.
On October 4, 2007, Plaintiff filed this motion to compel moving the Court for an Order:
(1) Compelling Defendant City of Puyallup to instruct any of its employees identified in Plaintiff's or Defendants' Initial Disclosures (and any supplements thereto) to conduct a diligent search for existing paper documents and to produce any additional documents responsive to Plaintiff's discovery requests that are found;
(2) Compelling Defendant to conduct and document, such that it is comprehensible to Plaintiff, a reasonably comprehensive search of its electronic records for documents responsive to Plaintiff's discovery;
(3) Extending the discovery deadline in this matter for the limited purpose of permitting Plaintiff to conduct further discovery as needed in response to any additional documents produced by Defendant as a result of the discovery compliance ordered above;
(4) Ordering Defendant to pay the reasonable expenses necessitated by Defendant's discovery violations, including attorneys fees; and
(5) Ordering any additional sanction that the Court deems just.
Dkt. 14 at 11. On October 16, 2007, Defendant filed an opposition brief and supporting documents. Dkt. 16. On October 19, 2007, Plaintiff filed a reply brief and included a motion to strike Defendant's opposition brief. Dkt. 20.
On October 23, 2007, the Court held a conference call with the parties regarding this motion. During that call, Defendant stated it would produce some audio recordings that Plaintiff identified in the reply brief. For the purposes of this motion, the Court will assume Defendant has produced those recordings.
A. Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's Opposition Brief
*2 Plaintiff moved to strike Defendant's opposition brief on the grounds that the brief was untimely and that the brief was factually unsupported. Dkt. 20 at 1-2.
First, “any opposition papers shall be filed and served not later than the Monday before the noting date.” Local Rule 7(d)(3). Defendant filed its opposition brief one day late on the Tuesday before the noting date. While compliance with the local rules of procedure is desirable, Plaintiff does not claim and has not shown prejudice from Defendant's untimely submission.
Second, if a motion requires consideration of fact not appearing of record, then the party filing the motion shall also file evidence in support of the motion. Local Rule 7(b). Defendant filed two declarations in support of its opposition brief. See
Dkt. 17; Dkt. 18. Plaintiff vaguely claims that the declarations filed in support of Defendant's opposition do not support Defendant's entire statement of facts. Dkt. 20 at 2. Plaintiff, however, fails to show that Defendants motion is wholly unsupported by the declarations or the record. Id.
Therefore, the Court should decline to grant Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's Opposition Pleadings.
B. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel
Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1), parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of person having knowledge of any discoverable matter. Requests for production of documents, electronically stored information, and other things are governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 34.
1. Instruct Defendant's Employees
Plaintiff requests that the Court instruct Defendant's employees to conduct a diligent search for existing paper documents and to produce additional responsive documents. Dkt. 14 at 11. Defendant argue that the city employees have performed a “reasonable” inquiry regarding relevant documents. Dkt. 16 at 11.
Defendant is already under a duty to conduct a reasonable inquiry regarding relevant documents and to produce such documents. Defendant maintains it has done so. Plaintiff's request is unnecessary and not authorized by the rules of discovery. Therefore, the Court should decline to grant Plaintiff's Motion to Compel on this issue.
2. Comprehensive Search of Defendant's Electronic Records
Plaintiff contends that Defendant has not thoroughly searched its electronic storage network or devices for relevant documents. See
Dkt. 21-2, pgs. 6-28 (letter between the parties regarding Defendant's electronic discovery efforts). Plaintiff requests that the Court compel Defendant to conduct and document a reasonably comprehensive search of its electronic data such that “it is comprehensible to Plaintiff.” Dkt. 14 at 11. Plaintiff, however, fails to cite authority for the proposition that the Court should enforce Plaintiff's subjective notion of how Defendant should conduct discovery. As explained supra,
Defendant is under a duty to produce all relevant documents. Defendant is not under a duty to comply with every discovery procedure requested by Plaintiff. Therefore, the Court should decline to grant Plaintiff's Motion to Compel on this issue.
3. Extending the Discovery Deadline
*3 Plaintiff requests that the Court extend the discovery deadline as a result of any discovery the Court orders as a result of Plaintiff's Motion to Compel. This issue is moot because the Court should decline to grant Plaintiff's Motion to Compel.
As discussed above, Plaintiff has failed to show that Defendant has committed discovery violations. Therefore, the Court should not impose sanctions on Defendant.
ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant City of Puyallup to Produce Discovery (Dkt.14) is DENIED and Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's Opposition Pleadings (Dkt.20) is DENIED.
The Clerk is directed to send uncertified copies of this Order to all counsel of record and to any party appearing pro se
at said party's last known address.
End of Document.