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Manley v. Zimmer

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 17, 2014

CHARLES MANLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
ALAN ZIMMER, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

WILLIAM G. COBB, Magistrate Judge.

On February 20, 2014, this court held a discovery hearing regarding Plaintiffs multiple discovery disputes. (Doc # 219.)[1] The court segregated Plaintiff's discovery motions into two groups. "Group I" motions included Doc. # 161, Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (2nd Request), and Doc. # 163, Plaintiff's Motion to Determine the Sufficiency of the Defendants' Answers or Objections (2nd Request). Group I motions were fully briefed and were resolved at the February 20, 2014 hearing. (Doc. # 219.)

"Group II" motions were then still in the process of briefing. Filings assigned to Group II which are addressed by this Order include Plaintiff's Motion for Court Order Requiring Defendants to Accept and Respond to Plaintiff's Discovery Requests (Doc. # 170), Plaintiff's Motion to Determine the Sufficiency of the Defendant [Rowley's] Answers or Objections (Doc. # 176), Plaintiff's Supplement to his Second Motion to Compel Discovery (Doc. # 177), Plaintiff's Supplement to Motion to Compel (Doc. # 186), and Plaintiff's Motion to Determine the Sufficiency of the Defendant [Hammock's] Answers or Objections (Doc. # 189). Subsequent to the hearing on February 20, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Sanctions (Doc. # 224), which the court will also resolve along with the Group II motions.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Manley is a pro se inmate litigant in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC). At the times relevant to the claims averred in the Amended Complaint (Doc. # 112), Plaintiff was incarcerated at Ely State Prison (ESP). Plaintiff's civil rights claims arise out of a July 2, 2009, cell extraction and the subsequent escort of Plaintiff from the housing unit to "visiting holding." ( Id. at 7.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Zimmer failed to protect him from harm after he (Zimmer) was informed that Plaintiff was concerned about remaining in his cell with his cellmate (Count II). ( Id., at 6.) Plaintiff further alleges that after being extracted from his cell and while being escorted, Defendants Rowley, Horsley, Hammock and Manning subjected him to excessive force (Count III). ( Id., at 7.)[2] Further, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants McDaniel and Baker failed to investigate or correct the alleged misconduct of the officers whom he alleges were involved in his escort (Count 1). ( Id., at 5.)

This § 1983 lawsuit does not present any particularly complicated legal or factual issues. As to Defendant Zimmer, the question is whether he (Zimmer) was informed by Plaintiff that Plaintiff had received threats of violence from his cellmate, and if yes, what action, if any, did Zimmer undertake. As to Defendants Rowley and Hammock, the issue is whether they used excessive or a disproportionate amount of force when effecting the cell extraction and escort. And as to Defendants McDaniel and Baker, the issue is whether they failed to investigate the incident or undertake any disciplinary action (assuming such was appropriate). This case is not particularly complicated factually or legally, and the discovery which has been undertaken appears to be disproportionate to the substance of the lawsuit.

Due to the significant number of discovery motions this court has had to address, including those resolved by this Order, an overview of the pertinent filings submitted in this matter would be important to understanding the court's approach to and analysis of the Group II discovery motions. This overview will illustrate the extensive discovery (mainly by Plaintiff) which has permeated this litigation.

The following summarizes the more significant events of the procedural history of this case from its inception through the deadline for filing discovery motions, December 13, 2013 (Doc. # 115):[3]

• July 22, 2011, Plaintiff's Complaint filed in the Seventh Judicial District Court (Doc. # 1-2)
• September 1, 2011, Defendants removed his case to the United States District Court (Doc. # 1)
• October 13, 2011, Screening Order issued (Doc.# 8)
• January 1, 2012, Defendants file Report of 90-day Stay (Doc. # 11)
• February 21, 2012, Acceptance of Service filed (Doc. # 19)
• March 27, 2012, Answer and Scheduling Order filed (Docs. # 24, # 25)
• April 25, 2012, Plaintiff served first discovery requests seeking documents (Doc. # 154-1)
• June 5, 2012, Plaintiff served second discovery requests seeking documents (Doc. # 154-2)
• June 6, 2012, Stipulation to Extend Discovery filed (Doc. # 32)
• June 7, 2012, Stipulation to Extend Discovery granted; discovery deadline extended 90 days to September 24, 2012 (Doc. # 33)
• June 17, 2012, Plaintiff served third requests for documents (Doc. # 154-3)
• June 18, 2012, Plaintiff served first set of requests for admissions to Defendant Rowley (Doc. # 154-4)
• July 20, 2012, Plaintiff served first set of request for admissions to Defendant Zimmer (Doc. # 154-5)
• August 12, 2012, Plaintiff served fourth requests for documents (Doc. # 154-5)
• August 15, 2012, Plaintiff moved to extend discovery (Doc. # 43)
• August 22, 2012, Defendants filed non-opposition to Plaintiff's motion to extend discovery (Doc. # 46)
• August 23, 2012, Revised Scheduling Order filed extending discovery 90 days, deadline for completion of discovery on November 20, 2012. The court specifies that barring unusual circumstances, there shall be no further extensions of time (Doc. # 47)
• September 30, 2012, Plaintiff served second set of requests for admissions on Defendant Rowley and first set of requests for admissions on Defendants Manning, Horsley and Hammock (Docs. # 154-7 to # 154-10)
• October 4, 2012, Plaintiff filed motion to compel discovery (Doc. # 48)
• October 31, 2012, Defendants filed opposition to Plaintiff's motion to compel (Doc. # 52)
• November 13, 2012, Plaintiff filed reply to Defendants' opposition (Doc. # 55)
• January 17, 2012, the court conducted hearing regarding Plaintiff's motion to compel discovery (Doc. # 64)
• February 19, 2013, Defendants filed supplemental briefing regarding requests for production 2, 9 and 10 (Doc. # 65)
• March 18, 2013, Plaintiff filed response to Defendants' supplemental briefing (Doc # 67)
• March 28, 2013, the court conducted hearing re continued briefing as to requests 2, 9 and 10 (Doc. # 78)
• April 23, 2013, Defendants filed continued supplemental briefing regarding Plaintiff's requests for production 2, 9 and 10 (Doc. # 81)
• April 25, 2013, Plaintiff filed continued supplemental briefing (Doc. # 85)
• May 17, 2013, Plaintiff moved to file an amended complaint adding supervisory liability allegations against Defendants McDaniel and Baker (Doc # 99)
• May 22, 2013, Defendants filed a their non-opposition to Plaintiff's motion to amend (Doc. # 100)
• July 3, 2013, The court granted Plaintiffs motion to file amended complaint (Doc. # 10)
• July 11, 2013, Plaintiff filed amended complaint (Doc. # 112)
• July 16, 2013, Defendants answered Plaintiff's amended complaint (Doc. # 113)
• July 23, 2013, Because of the involvement of new defendants, the court issued new scheduling order establishing November 27, 2013, as the date for completion of discovery; the court again orders "there shall be no further extensions." The order also establishes December 13, 2013, as the deadline for filing and serving discovery motions. (Doc. # 115)
• July 31, 2013, Plaintiff served first set of interrogatories on Defendants Hammock, Zimmer, Rowley, McDaniel, Baker, Manning and Horsley, and his second set of interrogatories on Defendants Baker and McDaniel (Docs. # 154-11 to # 154-19)
• August 5, 2013, Plaintiff filed additional supplemental briefing regarding requests 2, 9 and 10 (Doc # 117)
• August 16, 2013, Defendants filed their notice regarding additional supplemental briefing as to Plaintiff's requests numbers 2, 9 and 10 (Doc. # 118)
• September 19, 2013, Plaintiff moved to take depositions of all Defendants, and served his fifth set of requests for production and second set of interrogatories to Defendants Hammock, Manning, Rowley, Horsley and Zimmer, and his third set of interrogatories on Defendants Baker and McDaniel (Docs. # 121, # 154-20 to # 154-27)
• September 24, 2013, Defendants moved for partial dismissal of plaintiff's complaint (Doc. # 122)
• September 30, 2013, Defendants filed limited opposition to plaintiff's motion to take depositions of defendants (Doc. # 126); Defendants moved for partial stay of discovery as to Defendants Baker, McDaniel and Zimmer pending outcome of motion for partial dismissal (Doc. # 127)
• October 2, 2013, The court in Doc. # 129 granted, in part, Defendants' motion for partial discovery stay as to the discovery contained in Exhibit A, Plaintiff's Request for Interrogatories (3rd Set) for Renee Baker (Doc. # 127-1:1-8), Exhibit E, Plaintiff's Request for Interrogatories (3rd Set) for E.K. McDaniels (Doc. # 127-1:33-40) and Exhibit G, Plaintiff's Request for Interrogatories (2nd Set) for Alan Zimmer (Doc. # 127-1:49-58) (Doc. # 129)
• October 7, 2013, Plaintiff filed his Reply regarding his motion for depositions, response to defendants' motion for partial stay and opposition to motion for partial dismissal (Docs. # 131, # 132, # 133)
• October 9, 2013, The court ordered production of certain limited documents pursuant to Plaintiff's motion to compel (Doc. # 134)
• October 14, 2013, Defendants filed reply memorandum regarding their motion for partial stay of discovery (Doc. # 138)
• October 24, 2013, Defendants submitted documents under seal pursuant to the court's Order of October 9, 2013 (Doc. # 144); Plaintiff served his sixth set of request for production of documents and fourth set of requests for admissions to Defendants Hammock and Rowley (Docs. # 154-35 to # 154-36)
• October 28, 2013, Plaintiff moved for leave to extend the number of interrogatories to 100 per defendant (Doc. # 146)
• October 30, 2013, Plaintiff moved to extend discovery by 120 days (Doc. # 147)
• October 31, 2013, Defendants filed a notice of compliance with the court's October 9, 2013, order (Doc. # 149)
• November 4, 2013, Plaintiff filed motion to substitute two defendants (Doc. # 150)
• November 5, 2013, Defendants moved to withdraw motion for partial dismissal and to lift the partial stay of discovery (Doc. # 151)
• November 7, 2013, The court granted Defendants' motion to withdraw and lifted the partial discovery stay as to Defendants Baker, McDaniel and Zimmer; Defendants' answers to Plaintiff's discovery attached as Exhibits A, E and G to Defendants' underlying motion (Doc. #127) "shall be due thirty days from the date of this order" (Doc. # 152)
• November 8, 2013, the court granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff's motion for court order to conduct depositions of each defendant (Doc. # 153); Defendants respond to Plaintiff's motion to extend time re discovery (Doc. # 154)
• November 15, 2013, Plaintiff served his seventh set of Requests for Production of Documents (Doc. # 208-1)
• November 18, 2014, Defendants filed response to Plaintiff's motion to substitute two defendants (Doc. # 157)
• November 20, 2013, Plaintiff served his requests for admissions (second set) for Defendant E.K. McDaniel (Doc. # 208-2); Plaintiff withdrew his motions (#146) to extend the number of interrogatories to each defendant and (#147) to extend discovery (Doc. # 158); Plaintiff filed two motions to determine sufficiency of the Defendants answers and/or objections (Docs. # 159, # 163) and two motions for sanctions (Docs. # 160, # 162); Defendants filed a motion for a status conference (Doc. # 164)
• November 21, 2013, The court granted Plaintiff's motion to withdraw, and Docs. #146 and #147 were denied as moot; Defendants' request for status conference is granted (Doc. # 165)
• November 25, 2013, discovery status conference; the court denied Plaintiff's two motions for sanctions (#160, #162), denied Plaintiff's (#159) motion to determine sufficiency of defendants' answers and/or objections; and set briefing schedule set on (#161, #163) Plaintiff's two outstanding discovery motions (Doc. # 167)
• November 26, 2013, Defendants filed response to plaintiff's motion to substitute two defendants (Doc. # 166)
• November 27, 2013, Deadline for completion of discovery (Docs. # 115, # 116 at 5)
• December 4, 2013, Plaintiff filed motion to dismiss Defendants Horsley and Manning (Doc. # 168); Plaintiff's motion to dismiss was later granted in Doc. # 206 on January 13, 2014
• December 9, 2013, Plaintiff filed motion for court order requiring defendants to answer and accept discovery requests (Doc. # 170); Defendants filed motion to extend time to respond to Docs. # 161, # 163 (Doc. # 171)
• December 10, 2013, the court granted Defendants' motion for extension of time (Doc. # 172); Defendants responded to Plaintiff's motions #161 and #163 (Doc. # 173)
• December 11, 2013, Plaintiff filed motion to extend time to file discovery motions and to vacate current deadline for filing dispositive motions (Doc. # 174), a reply to motion to substitute two defendants (Doc. # 175), a motion to determine sufficiency of defendant's answer and/or objections (Doc. # 176), a supplement to his second motion to compel (Doc. # 177), a motion for protective order (Doc. # 178), and motion for leave to file exhibits under seal (Doc. # 179)
• December 12, 2013, Defendants filed a motion to compel discovery (Doc. # 182) and a motion for a status conference (Doc. # 183); the court scheduled hearing to discuss plaintiff's #178 motion for protective order and Defendants' #182 motion to compel (Doc. # 184)
• December 13, 2013, Deadline for filing Discovery motions (Doc. # 115)[4]

The court will now address the substantive and procedural issues presented by the Group II motions which are before the court, mindful of the nature of the civil rights claims made by Plaintiff, considering as well the extent of ...


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