The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Sylvia H. Rambo
Before the court is Plaintiff Delaine Andrews' Amended Motion for Judgment for Defendant's Intentional Lack of Cooperation and Refusal to Comply with Court Order to Provide Discovery or Alternatively Motion to Compel Discovery Response.*fn1 (Doc. 45.) In this motion, Plaintiff seeks sanctions against Defendants based on her belief that Defendants have not responded truthfully or in good faith to her requests for discovery. Defendants filed a response, (Doc. 51), and Plaintiff has filed her reply, (Doc. 62). The motion is now ripe for disposition.
In her amended motion, Plaintiff complains that Defendants have not answered truthfully to her "Request for Information"-which appears to be a request for production of documents-specifically, requests number 7, 9, 19, 21-24, and 26. While the court can dispose of Plaintiff's motion in part without the need for a hearing, certain issues require further explanation from Defendants. Accordingly, the court will address here only those issues that can be disposed of, and will schedule a hearing for 10:00 a.m. on March 1, 2010 to hear from the parties on the remaining issues.
I. Issues that can be Resolved Without the Need for a Hearing
A. Document Requests 7 & 9
Requests number 7 & 9 read as follows:
7. Any handbook or document of Bureau of Code demonstrating standard operating procedures regarding housing code violations, Condemnation of properties, notice to rehabilitation of properties, notice to correct property maintenance code violations.
9. Any internal work related documents regarding Bureau of Code policies, procedures, protocols regarding Condemnation of Properties, Notice to Rehabilitate Properties, Notice to Correct Property Maintenance Code Violations. (Doc. 52, Defs.' Br. in Opp. at 2.)*fn2 In response to these requests, Defendants sent Plaintiff a copy of the 2000 International Property Maintenance Code, which was adopted by the City of Harrisburg through Ordinance # 20 of 2001. (See Doc. 47, Pl.'s Ex. E, at 19 of 39.) Defendants also informed Plaintiff that the Bureau of Codes "does not have a handbook or other document containing its standard operating procedures," and that "all policies, procedures and protocols of the Bureau of Codes relative to notice requirements for violations are contained in the 2000 International Property Maintenance Code." (Id.) Plaintiff contends that this response was untruthful because Plaintiff uses "housing complaint forms to record housing related complaints," and attaches as support a blank copy of such a form. (See id., Pl.'s Ex. F, at 23 of 39.)
For their part, Defendants assert that the document attached as Exhibit F to Plaintiff's brief does not fit within the scope of either of Plaintiff's requests. The court agrees. The document attached as Exhibit F is a form that allows individuals to file a complaint with the City about perceived housing code violations; it is not a policy, handbook, or procedure of the Defendants. Moreover, it is difficult for the court to see what it is that Plaintiff objects to; after all, she clearly is in possession of the form that she contends fits within the scope of her request for production of documents. Furthermore, Plaintiff has pointed to nothing convincing the court that Defendants are withholding information from her about their policies and procedures. Plaintiff's subjective belief that Defendants are lying is not evidence that they are, and without more than speculation the court will not sanction Defendants.
Neither party provides the wording of Plaintiff's request # 19. From what the court can glean, Plaintiff asked for any instructional documents related to condemned properties. In response, Defendants stated that they "have no such documents. Procedures related to condemned properties are found in the International Property Maintenance Code." (Doc. 47, Pl.'s Ex. E, at 20 of 39.) Again, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants are lying and submits a document titled "Building Permit Requirements for Condemned Buildings" as proof of Defendants' deception. (Id. at 25 of 39.) Defendants respond by stating that the document referenced by Plaintiff is "merely a list of items to be submitted with building permit applications. The document makes no attempt at [instructing] a property owner or contractor as to how to comply with building permit requirements." (Doc. 52, Def.'s Br. in Opp. at 3.) Having reviewed Plaintiff's Exhibit G, the court agrees with Defendants' assessment and accepts Defendants' explanation.
II. Issues That Require a Hearing
Neither party provides the wording of Plaintiff's request # 21. Based on Plaintiff's motion, however, it appears that this request was directed at property inspection notes for inspections of condemned properties. Defendants responded, as follows: "Defendants do not maintain inspection notes for properties. All available inspection reports are bing provided for those properties in Exhibit A where the addresses are valid." (Doc. 47, Pl.'s Ex. E, at 20 of 39.) Plaintiff contends that this response must be false, because she received hand written notes at her inspection on carbon paper, and the bottom of that paper says that a white copy is kept in the office. Defendants implicitly acknowledge that such notes ...