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Melendez v. Allen

July 17, 2008

MICHAEL MELENDEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SGT. ALLEN; C.O. MITCHELL; J. MACDONALD, INMATE GRIEVANCE PROGRAM SUPERVISOR, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David R. Homer, U. S. Magistrate Judge

DECISION and ORDER

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Michael Melendez brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking redress for the alleged violation of his constitutional rights.*fn1

Defendants answered the complaint on November 27, 2006. Dkt. No. 81. Presently before the Court is a motion to compel discovery filed by plaintiff. Dkt. No. 102. Plaintiff claims that defendants failed to fully comply with the Court's November 27, 2007 Order regarding discovery. Plaintiff also claims that defendants failed to properly respond to plaintiff's discovery requests, and seeks an order of this Court directing further responses.*fn2

Defendants filed a response in opposition to the motion. Dkt. No. 103. Plaintiff has filed a reply. Dkt. No. 108.

II. Discussion

(A) Discovery Generally

Under Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, parties may obtain discovery "regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 (b)(1). While not unlimited, "relevance for the purposes of discovery is 'an extremely broad concept.'" Melendez v. Greiner, 2003 WL 22434101 * 1 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (citations omitted). Moreover, "actions alleging violations of § 1983 require especially generous discovery." Cox v. McClellan, 174 F.R.D. 32, 34 (W.D.N.Y. 1997) (Feldman, M.J.) (citing the late District Judge James T. Foley's decision in Inmates of Unit 14 v. Rebideau, 102 F.R.D. 128 (N.D.N.Y. 1984)).

A party objecting to the disclosure of certain evidence bears the burden of establishing "precisely why its objections are proper given the broad and liberal construction of the discovery rules found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure." Obiajulu v. City of Rochester, Dept. of Law, 166 F.R.D. 293, 295 (W.D.N.Y. 1996) (Feldman, M.J.). "General and conclusory objections as to relevance, overbreadth, or burden are insufficient to exclude discovery of requested information." Melendez, supra, at *1.

(B) Discovery to Date

Plaintiff served defendants with his first set of interrogatories and requests for production of documents ("First Discovery Request") in April, 2007. In response, defendants objected to every request propounded by plaintiff. See Dkt. No. 102 at 16-23 (Defendants' Response to First Discovery Request).

By letter filed November 15, 2007, plaintiff requested a telephone conference with the Court regarding discovery. Dkt. No. 97. Plaintiff stated his position that defendants had failed to properly respond to the First Discovery Request, and advised the Court that his efforts to resolve the dispute through correspondence with defendants' counsel had been unsuccessful. Id.

A telephone conference was held on November 20, 2007, to address plaintiff's concerns regarding defendants' response to the First Discovery Request. By Order filed November 21, 2007, defendants were directed to produce three categories of documents to plaintiff. Dkt. No. 99 (the "November Order").

Defendants produced responsive documents to plaintiff in January, 2008. Shortly thereafter, plaintiff served his second set of interrogatories and requests for production of documents ("Second Discovery Request") on defendants' counsel. A ...


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