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Walls v. Corecivic, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 20, 2018

ALEXANDER WALLS, Plaintiff,
v.
CORECIVIC, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER (MOTS. TO COMPEL - ECF, 37, 42, MOT. FOR ORDER - ECF NO. 47 DEFENDANT. MOT. EXT. DISC. - ECF NO. 49)

          PEGGY A. LEEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on pro se Plaintiff Alexander Walls' Motion to Compel Discovery Materials (ECF No. 37). The court has considered the Motion, and Defendant CoreCivic, Inc.'s (“CoreCivic”) Response (ECF No. 38). No reply was filed and the deadline to do so has now expired. Also before the court are CoreCivic's Motion to Compel Responses to Written Discovery (ECF No. 42), Motion for Order (ECF No. 47), and Motion to Extend Discovery Deadlines (ECF No. 49). Mr. Walls did not respond to CoreCivic's Motion to Compel and the deadline to do so has now expired. These Motions are referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and LR IB 1-3 of the Local Rules of Practice.

         BACKGROUND

         Mr. Walls is a prisoner currently in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Coleman, Florida. In September 2016, the court entered an Order (ECF No. 31) granting Walls' Motion for Appointment of Counsel (ECF No. 27) and referring this case to the Pilot Pro Bono Program. The order stated the court could not guarantee a volunteer lawyer would be willing and available to accept the appointment. CoreCivic subsequently requested new discovery deadlines. See Mot. Set Discovery Deadlines (ECF No. 32).

         Despite diligent attempts to find a volunteer lawyer for nearly a year, the Pilot Pro Bono granted CoreCivic's motion and set the following new discovery deadlines: (a) close of discovery: March 28, 2018; (b) expert disclosures: January 26, 2018; (c) rebuttal expert disclosures: February 26, 2018; (d) interim status report: January 26, 2018; (e) extensions or modifications of the discovery plan and scheduling order: March 8, 2018; (f) dispositive motions: April 27, 2018; and (g) joint pretrial order:[1] May 28, 2018. See Sept. 29, 2017 Order (ECF No. 34).

         DISCUSSION

         Parties and their counsel should strive to be cooperative during discovery and should only seek judicial intervention “in extraordinary situations that implicate truly significant interests.” Cardoza v. Bloomin' Brands, Inc., 141 F.Supp.3d. 1137, 1145 (D. Nev. 2015) (citation omitted). Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure[2] and the Local Rules of Civil Practice, filing a motion with the court is not the proper procedure for requesting written discovery materials from a party. Once the court enters a scheduling order, the parties are permitted to engage in discovery. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 16; LR 16-1(b). Discovery requests must be served directly on opposing parties, who then have 30 days to respond. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 34. The Local Rules also state:

Unless the court orders otherwise, written discovery, including discovery requests, discovery responses, deposition notices, and deposition transcripts, must not be filed with the court. Originals of responses to written discovery requests must be served on the party who served the discovery request, and that party must make the originals available at the pretrial hearing, at trial, or when ordered by the court….

LR 26-8 (emphasis added). The court may strike improperly filed discovery documents from the docket. See, e.g., Ready Transp., Inc. v. AAR Mfg., Inc., 627 F.3d 402, 404 (9th Cir. 2010); Adobe Sys. Inc. v. Christenson, 891 F.Supp.2d 1194, 1201 (D. Nev. 2012).

         A party served with written discovery requests is obligated to provide complete and truthful responses to all types of discovery requests. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(g)(1). Rule 26(b) permits “discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). However, all discovery is subject to the limitations imposed by Rule 26(b)(2)(C). Rule 26(e) requires a party to supplement or correct its initial disclosures or discovery responses in a timely manner if the party learns “the disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect, and if the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been known to the other parties during the discovery process or in writing.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(e)(1).

         A motion to compel discovery may only be filed when a timely discovery request has been served, the opposing party has not responded or has inadequately responded, and the moving party has attempted in good faith to resolve any dispute about the adequacy of the discovery responses without the court's intervention. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a); LR 26-7. The Local Rules state that discovery motions will not be considered unless the movant (1) has made a good-faith effort to meet and confer before filing the motion, and (2) includes a declaration setting forth the details and results of the meet-and-confer conference about each disputed discovery request. LR 26-7(c). The “meet and confer” process requires the parties “to communicate directly and discuss in good faith the issues required under the particular rule or court order.” LR IA 1-3(f).

         Rule 37(a)(3) explicitly provides that an evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer, or response to a discovery request “is to be treated as a failure to disclose, answer, or respond.” Goodman v. Staples The Office Superstore, 644 F.3d 817, 827 (9th Cir. 2011). A party who fails to comply with its initial disclosure requirements and duty to timely supplement or correct disclosures or responses may not use any information not disclosed or supplemented “to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(c)(1); see also Ollier v. Sweetwater Union High Sch. Dist., 768 F.3d 843, 861 (9th Cir. 2014).

         I. Walls' Motion to Compel Discovery

         Mr. Walls' motion (ECF No. 37) indicates that he received written discovery requests from CoreCivic's counsel in October 2017. He is receiving assistance from his case manager and counselor at the corrections facility to comply with the requests. Walls states he has not received his case file from his previous attorney despite writing counsel a letter requesting the file and having his counselor leave counsel multiple ...


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