United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
D. Mariani United States District Judge
David Gee ("Plaintiff"), an inmate formerly housed
at the York County Prison, in York, Pennsylvania, commenced
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(Doc. 1). Presently pending before the Court are Plaintiffs
motions to compel discovery and motion for sanctions. (Docs.
25, 26, 32). In response, Defendants request that the Court
deny Plaintiffs motions to compel discovery. (Doc. 28). For
the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs motions will denied
Plaintiff's Motions to Compel Discovery
who has received evasive or incomplete discovery responses
may seek a court order compelling disclosure or discovery of
the materials sought. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a). The
moving party must demonstrate the relevance of the
information sought to a particular claim or defense. The
burden then shifts to the opposing party, who must
demonstrate in specific terms why a discovery request does
not fall within the broad scope of discovery or is otherwise
privileged or improper. Goodman v. Wagner, 553
F.Supp. 255, 258 (E.D. Pa. 1982).
courts afford considerable latitude in discovery in order to
ensure that litigation proceeds with "the fullest
possible knowledge of the issues and facts before
trial." Hickman v. Taylor, 349 U.S. 495, 501
(1947). The procedural rule defining the scope and limits of
discovery provides that "[p]arties may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of
the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake
in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties'
relative access to relevant information, the parties'
resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the
issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed
discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within
this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to
be discoverable." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). "[A]ll
relevant material is discoverable unless an applicable
evidentiary privilege is asserted. The presumption that such
matter is discoverable, however, is defeasible."
Pearson v. Miller, 211 F.2d 57, 65 (3d Cir. 2000).
Furthermore, the court may limit discovery where: "(i)
the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or
duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that
is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; (ii)
the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to
obtain the information by discovery in the action; or (iii)
the proposed discovery is outside the scope permitted by Rule
26(b)(1)." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(c).
addition to the above standards, Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 33 states that absent a stipulation of the parties
or leave of court, a party may only serve twenty-five (25)
written interrogatories, "including all discrete
sub-parts, " upon another party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(1).
Finally, a district court has the general discretion to
supervise discovery, so long as any order issued or local
rule adopted is not inconsistent with the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Tarkett, Inc. v. Congoleum Corp.,
144 F.R.D. 282, 284-285 (E.D. Pa. 1992); Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b).
instant motions to compel discovery, Plaintiff requests that
Defendants answer his interrogatories. (Docs. 25, 32).
Plaintiff appears to specifically request that Defendant
Baker answer the interrogatories posed to her. (Doc. 25-1).
In response, Defendant Baker represents that she answered
each interrogatory, and she has provided the Court with a
copy of each interrogatory and answer. (Doc. 28). Upon review
of the parties' submissions, the Court finds that
Defendant Baker has answered each questioned posed to her.
Accordingly, this discovery request will be denied without
also expresses dissatisfaction with the interrogatory answers
provided by Defendants Reihart and Valquez. The parties have
not submitted the interrogatories posed to Defendants Reihart
and Valquez. However, Plaintiff has submitted a letter
wherein he indicates that the parties have resolved certain
discovery disputes. (Doc. 34). Based upon the parties'
submissions, it appears that some if not all of the present
discovery disputes can be resolved without judicial
intervention. Thus, in order to assist in the orderly and
expeditious disposition of this action, the Court will direct
the parties to confer in a good faith effort to resolve by
agreement all remaining discovery issues within thirty (30)
days of the date of the accompanying Order. In conferring,
the parties are reminded that discovery requests must be
relevant to the claims before this Court and that both
requests and responses should adhere to the requirements of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Finally, in undertaking
a good faith effort to resolve the pending discovery
disputes, the parties should be guided by the standards set
ten (10) days following the parties' conference, each
party shall submit a separate status report indicating which,
if any, discovery issues have been resolved and indicating
any outstanding matters which remain in dispute and their
respective positions with regard to each unsettled
Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions
also requests that the Court impose sanctions against
Defendants for failure to comply with discovery requests.
(Doc. 26). Plaintiff suggests, in a somewhat conclusory
fashion, that Defendants should be sanctioned $87.00 for
failing to comply with his discovery requests.
Rule of Civil Procedure 37 provides for a wide range of
sanctions that may be imposed for a party's failure to
comply with discovery obligations. See, e.g., FED.
R. Civ. P. 37(a)(3)(A) ("If a party fails to make a
disclosure required by Rule 26(a), any other party may move
to compel disclosure and for appropriate sanctions.").
"The choice of the appropriate sanction is committed to
the sound discretion of the district court." Hewlett
v. Davis, 844 F.2d 109, 113 (3d Cir. 1988). However, if
a district court finds that sanctions are warranted, the
Court must make factual findings to justify such an award.
See Naviant Mktg. Solutions, Inc. v. Larry Tucker,
Inc., 339 F.3d 180, 186-87 (3d Cir. 2003) (finding that
the district court abused its discretion in imposing
sanctions against defense counsel where the court made no
explicit findings of misconduct, and the record did not
support such a finding).
Court is familiar with the procedural and factual background
of this case, and the Court is not convinced that sanctions
are appropriate. Furthermore, Plaintiffs latest letter to the
Court indicates that the parties are amicably resolving their
discovery disputes. (Doc. ...