United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
D. Mariani Judge
Jeremy Pinson ("Plaintiff'), a federal inmate who is
currently housed at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson,
Arizona, initiated this action pursuant to Bivens,
28 U.S.C. § 1331, and the Federal Tort Claims Act
("FTCA"). The matter is proceeding via a second
amended complaint. (Doc. 51). Named as Defendants are Warden
L. Oddo, Warden T. Cozza-Rhodes, Chief of the Designation and
Sentence Computation Center ("DSCC") J. Santana,
Special Investigative Services ("SIS") Lieutenant
S. Valencik, Special Investigative Agent ("SIA") C.
Heath, the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), and the
United States of America. (Id.).
pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to compel
discovery. (Doc. 73). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court will deny the motion.
Standard of Review
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).
instant motion, Plaintiff requests that the Court: (1) compel
Defendants to respond to his second set of discovery
requests; and, (2) compel Defendants to further respond to
his original discovery requests. (Doc. 74, pp. 1-3).
Second Set of Discovery Requests
April 1, 2019, the Court ordered that "[d]iscovery on
the issues of exhaustion of administrative remedies and
personal jurisdiction shall be completed on or before April
29, 2019." (Doc. 71, ¶ 2). Plaintiff states that on
April 30, 2019, past the discovery deadline, he mailed a
second set of discovery requests to Defendants. (Doc. 74, pp.
1, 4). On May 15, 2019, Defendants responded and objected to
the discovery requests as untimely. (Id. at p.7).
clear that Plaintiffs second set of discovery requests,
mailed on April 30, 2019, were untimely under the Court's
Order. The April 1, 2019 Order clearly states that discovery
"shall be completed on or before April 29, 2019."
(Doc. 71, ¶ 2). Plaintiff appears to concede his
untimeliness, explaining that he was placed on suicide watch
on April 20, and had no access to writing instruments. (Doc.
74, p. 1). In response, Defendants argue that Plaintiff could
have mailed the discovery requests at any time prior to April
20, and, furthermore, their responses were due after the
Scheduling Order's deadline. (Doc. 81, pp. 5-6).
scheduling order "may be modified only for good cause
and with the judge's consent." FED. R. Civ. P.
16(b)(4). The Court also has authority under Rules 33(b)(2)
and 34(b)(2)(A) to shorten the time for responses to
interrogatories and requests for production of documents.
See FED. R. Civ. P. 33(b)(2), 34(b)(2)(A). Courts
have applied the general Rule 16 good cause standard when
considering requests to alter discovery deadlines. Good cause
under Rule 16(b) focuses on the diligence of the party
seeking the modification of the scheduling order.
See FED. R. Civ. P. 16, Advisory Committee Note
(1983) ("the court may modify the schedule on a showing
of good cause if it cannot reasonably be met despite the
diligence of the party seeking the extension").
the Court finds that Plaintiff has not made this showing.
Plaintiff timely served his original discovery requests.
Plaintiff could have, but did not, serve his additional
discovery requests in time to be completed prior to the
deadline set by the Court. Because Plaintiffs second set of