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Hynes v. Kirkpatrick

March 21, 2007

CHRIS HYNES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL KIRKPATRICK; ERIC GRAF; MICHAEL GRANEY; BRIAN SMITH; MICHAEL O'SULLIVAN; CRAIG GUMMNERSON; JOSEPH WOLCZYK; AND DONALD SELSKY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: George H. Lowe, United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

Plaintiff Chris Hynes has filed a motion to compel discovery pursuant to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Dkt. No. 29. Plaintiff has also submitted a letter requesting that sanctions be imposed against the Defendants. Dkt. No. 34.

I. Motion to Compel

Plaintiff's motion to compel relates to the following discovery requests:

(1) First Request for Production of Documents dated December 8, 2005 (Dkt. No. 29, Ex. A);

(2) Second Request for Production of Documents, undated (Dkt. No. 29, Ex. F);

(3) First Set of Interrogatories dated June 13, 2006 (Dkt. No. 29, Ex. M); and

(4) Third Request for Production of Documents dated July 21, 2006 (Dkt. No. 29, Ex. O).

In his motion, Plaintiff states that he made good faith efforts to resolve discovery disputes with Defendants' counsel. Dkt. No. 29, Affidavit. Plaintiff states that Defendants have not timely responded to the Plaintiff's discovery requests. Id. On October 13, 2006, Defendants requested and received an extension of time to respond to Plaintiff's motion to compel. Dkt. No. 31. Despite being granted an extension of time to do so, Defendants have filed no response to Plaintiff's motion to compel.

By letter dated December 4, 2006, Plaintiff advised the Court that Defendants had responded to some, but not all, of Plaintiff's discovery requests. Dkt. No. 34. Specifically, Plaintiff stated that Defendants served Plaintiff with a copy of defendants' response to plaintiff's first set of interrogatories dated June 13, 2006, three months after the time to respond. On October 20 [Defendants' counsel] served me with a copy of DOCS training manuals for inmate assistants and hearing officers, in response to requests #7 and #8 of plaintiff's first set of interrogatories.

Despite their belated attempts to comply with the outstanding discovery, this is a case of too little, too late. Defendants have ignored my repeated discovery requests, some over a year old. Defendants have failed to produce many other documents relevant to the issues in this action. Furthermore, defendants have failed to respond to my motion to compel.

Dkt. No. 34.

The scope of permissible discovery in a civil action pending in a federal district court is defined, in the first instance, by rule which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Fed. R. Civ. P.") 26(b)(1). When applying this standard in a case such as this, the Court must be mindful that "actions alleging violations of § 1983 require especially generous discovery." Cox v. McClellan, 174 F.R.D. 32, 34 (W.D.N.Y. 1997) (citing Inmates of Unit 14 v. Rebideau, 102 F.R.D. 122, 128 (N.D.N.Y. 1984) (Foley, J.)). When addressing a party's resistence to discovery requests propounded by an adversary, a court must also give recognition to the precept that

[a]n objection to a document request must clearly set forth the specifics of the objection and how that objection relates to the documents being demanded. The burden is on the party resisting discovery to clarify and explain precisely why its objections are proper given the broad and liberal construction of discovery rules found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Obiajulu v. City of Rochester, Dep't of Law, 166 F.R.D. 293, 295 (W.D.N.Y. 1996) (internal citations omitted).

With respect to Defendants' failure to respond to the motion, "[w]here a properly filed motion is unopposed and the Court determines that the moving party has met its burden to demonstrate entitlement to the relief requested therein, the non-moving party's failure to file or serve any papers as required by this Rule shall be deemed as consent to the granting or denial of the motion, as the case may be, unless good cause be shown." L.R. 7.1(b)(3). Among the "papers" required to be filed and served by a non-movant in order to "oppose" a motion to compel discovery is a ...


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