United States District Court, D. Nevada
GEORGE L. VONTRESS, Plaintiff,
THE STATE OF NEVADA, et al., Defendants.
ORDER (MOTS. COMPEL - ECF NOS. 52, 53, 57)
A. LEEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the court on Plaintiff George L.
Vontress' Motions to Compel Discovery (ECF Nos. 52, 53,
57). 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. The court has considered the Motions, the
Response (ECF No. 59) filed by Defendants Frank Dreesen,
James Dzurenda, Dwight Neven, and Vontress' Reply (ECF
Vontress is a pro se prisoner in the custody of the Nevada
Department of Corrections (“NDOC”) and currently
housed at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona.
He has received permission to proceed in forma
pauperis (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915 and LSR 1-1 of the Local Rules of Practice. He
commenced this action on in September 2018 by filing an IFP
Application (ECF No. 1) and proposed complaint. This case arises
from Vontress' allegations, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, regarding his treatment while he was incarcerated at
the High Desert State Prison and Saguaro Correctional Center.
court reviewed the Complaint (ECF No. 35) and determined that
it states 12 plausible claims for: (1) due process violations
against Defendant Lt. John Doe (portion of Count I); (2)
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against
Defendant Lt. John Doe (Count II); (3) supervisory liability
for administrative segregation due process against Defendant
Nevens (portion of Count III); (4) deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs against Defendant John Doe medical
provider (Count IV); (5) conspiracy against Defendants Lt.
John Doe and John Doe medical provider (Count V); (6)
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against
Defendant Dr. Pena (Count VII); (7) deliberate indifference
to serious medical needs against Defendant Gentry (Count
VIII); (8) conspiracy against Defendants Gentry and Dr. Pena
(portion of Count VIII); (9) retaliation and conspiracy
against Defendants Gentry and Dreeson (portion of Count IX);
(10) deliberate indifference to serious medical needs and
conspiracy against Defendants Henninger,  CoreCivic, and
Dzurenda (Count XI); (11) deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs against Defendants Fuller, Williams, and Doe
SCC medical staff (Count XII); and (12) deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs against Defendants
Fuller, Thomas, and Marr (Count XIII). See
Screening Order (ECF No. 34).
court stayed the case for 90 days to allow the parties an
opportunity to settle their dispute through the Inmate Early
Mediation Program before the filing of an answer or starting
the discovery process. Id.; see also Order
Setting Inmate Early Mediation Conference (ECF No. 40).
However, the parties did not reach a settlement and the case
was returned to the normal litigation track. See
Feb. 15, 2019 Mins. of Proceedings (ECF No. 47).
court entered an Order (ECF No. 50) (“Service
Order”) instructing Mr. Vontress to perfect service
within 90 days, which set a service deadline of May 24, 2019.
In addition, the court directed electronic service of the
Complaint on the Nevada Office of the Attorney General
(“Attorney General”) and instructed that a notice
be filed with the court indicating the names of the
defendants for whom the Attorney General accepts service, and
those it does not. Id. With regard to Defendants
Hininger, Thomas, Marr, Fuller, Williams, and CoreCivic, the
court instructed that summonses be issued and ordered the
U.S. Marshal to attempt service of process. Id.;
Summonses (ECF No. 51).
Attorney General accepted service on behalf of Defendants
Frank Dreesen, James Dzurenda, Dwight Neven, and Dr. Rene
Pena (collectively, “NDOC Defendants”) on March
15, 2019. Notice Acceptance of Service (ECF No. 60). However,
the Attorney General did not accept service for Defendant Jo
Gentry, but filed his last known address under seal as
ordered. See Notice of Sealed Submission (ECF No.
62); Sealed Submission of Last Known Address (ECF No. 61).
NDOC Defendants' answers or responsive pleadings are due
May 15, 2019. See Order (ECF No. 50) at 4. Because
no answers have been filed and many defendants remain
unserved, no discovery plan and scheduling order has
Vontress has filed three motions (ECF Nos. 52, 53, 57)
requesting court orders compelling various defendants to
produce discovery materials. The motions seek records such as
incident reports, disciplinary reports, emails, faxes, his
medical records, and records of previous litigation involving
NDOC and CoreCivic. Vontress asserts this discovery is
necessary for him to successfully name and serve the unnamed
defendants and prosecute his case. The motions were filed
between February 28 and March 8, 2019. At the time, no named
defendant was served, no answer was filed, and a discovery
plan and scheduling order was not entered.
NDOC Defendants filed a Response (ECF No. 59) to one motion,
arguing that Mr. Vontress' discovery requests are
premature and improper as defendants had yet to file a notice
of acceptance of service or their answer and the court has
not “issued a scheduling order signaling commencement
of discovery.” Id. at 2. Vontress' Reply
(ECF No. 63) states that he realizes notice of acceptance of
service has not been filed and that is “exactly
Plaintiff's point.” Id. at 2. He wants to
name and serve all defendants so that a notice of acceptance
of service can be made on behalf of all the defendants, and
he needs the requested discovery to do so. With regard to the
NDOC Defendants argument that a motion to compel is not the
proper vehicle for him to submit discovery requests, he
responds that “any vehicle Plaintiff decides to
utilize, in order to get from point A to point B, and for
which this noble court is willing to construe. is
adequate.” Id. Thus, he asks the court to
compel the requested discovery.
to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rules of
Civil Practice of this district, 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. In prisoner civil
rights actions, the court will enter a scheduling order
within 30 days after any defendant files an answer. LR
16-1(b). All discovery requests must be served directly
on opposing parties, who then have 30 days to respond.
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 ...