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Williams v. Nevada Dept. of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 30, 2015

JEFFREY WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
NEVADA DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

CAM FERENBACH, Magistrate Judge.

This matter involves a claim for cruel and unusual punishment due to a police officer's alleged excessive use of force against an inmate. (Pl.'s Compl. (#1-2[1]) at 7). Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Jeffery Williams' Motion for Polygraphic Examination. (#57). For the reasons stated below, the court denies Plaintiff's Motion.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Jeffery Williams' Complaint (#1-2) was screened by the court on December 4, 2013. (#9). In the Order, all claims were dismissed except for claims against Defendants Ratcliff and Cobb involving the use of excessive force. ( Id. at 7: 14-22). Plaintiff has made several discovery motions in this matter. He filed a Motion for Discovery on August 28, 2014. (#31). The Motion was denied in an Order laying out the proper discovery procedure for Plaintiff and Defendant to follow. (#34). On October 24, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Copies of Medical Records and Video Recordings. (#45). This Motion was denied on January 9, 2015 for failure to serve production requests on the Defendants before filing what was in essence a motion to compel discovery. (#53).

Plaintiff filed a Motion for Polygraphic Examination on February 12, 2015. (#57). In the Motion, Plaintiff requests that he be given a polygraphic examination to show the court that he is telling the truth. ( Id. at 1: 18-19 & 30-31). He also requests that Defendant Ratcliff be given a polygraphic examination to show that he has not been truthful. ( Id. at 1: 32-33). Plaintiff moves for these exams "even though they are not [admissible] in a court of law." ( Id. at 1: 31).

DISCUSSION

Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the court begins its analysis of his Motion (#57) by explaining the relevant law.

I. Discovery in Federal Court

Discovery is governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 26(b)(1) states that a party "may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense." Evidence is relevant if "it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and the fact is of consequence in determining the action." FED. R. EVID. 401. "Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." FED. R. CIV. P. 26(b)(1). This sets a very permissive standard for discovery, but "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... or (iii) the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit." FED. R. CIV. P. 26(b)(2)(C).

In order to obtain discovery from an opposing party, a party may use several devices. "A party may serve on any other party a written request to admit... the truth of any matter within the scope of Rule 26(b)(1) relating to: (A) facts, the application of law to fact... and (B) the genuineness of any described documents." FED. R. CIV. P. 36. A party may serve 25 interrogatories on another party, requesting facts, opinions or contentions relating "to any matter that may be inquired into under Rule 26(b)." FED. R. CIV. P. 33. A party may also serve another party with a request "to produce and permit the requesting party or its representative to inspect... any designated documents or electronically stored information" within the scope of Rule 26(b). FED. R. CIV. P. 34. A party may depose another person, including another party, by oral or written questioning. (FED. R. CIV. P. 30-31).

These procedures may be modified by stipulation. FED. R. CIV. P. 29. The Local Rules of Practice for the United States District Court of Nevada list requirements for stipulations. Local Rule 7-1 states that stipulations, other than those made in open court, "shall be in writing, signed by the parties or counsel for the parties to be bound, and served on all parties who have appeared." Stipulations made under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 29 may or may not be effective without the approval of the court, depending on the subject-matter. Id.

If a party, like Plaintiff, serves a valid discovery request as permitted by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the opposing party fails to comply, then the party requesting discovery may move to compel under Rule 37. However, before moving to compel, the requesting party must "meet and confer" with the opposing party. FED. R. CIV. P. 37. The parties must engage in a dialogue to attempt to resolve the dispute in good faith. Id.; Local Rule 16.1-21. The court cannot consider a motion to compel "unless a statement of the movant is attached thereto certifying that, after personal consultation and sincere effort to do so, the parties have been unable to resolve the matter without Court action." Local Rule 26-7(b).

II. Plaintiff's Motion for Polygraphic Examination

Plaintiff's Motion for Polygraphic Examination (#57) contains two requests. Plaintiff asks for a polygraphic examination to be administered to himself and for a polygraphic examination to be administered to Defendant ...


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