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Griffin v. Incorporated Village of Rockville Centre

United States District Court, E.D. New York

January 2, 2020

CHARLES GRIFFIN, GERALDINE GRIFFIN, CRAIG GRIFFIN, LANCE GRIFFIN, and CARIL SIMMONS, Plaintiffs,
v.
INCORPORATED VILLAGE OF ROCKVILLE CENTRE, FRANCIS X. MURRAY, Mayor of the Incorporated Village of Rockville Centre, in his official And individual capacities, DANIEL CASELLA, Building Superintendent for the Incorporated Village of Rockville Centre, JOHN GOOCH, Building Inspector for the Incorporated Village of Rockville Centre, THOMAS BUNTING, Building Inspector for the Incorporated Village of Rockville Centre, in his official and individual capacities, PETER KLUGEWICZM Chief Fire Safety Inspector for the Incorporated Village of Rockville Centre, in his official and individual capacities, And JOHN and/or JANE DOES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ANNE Y. SHIELDS United States Magistrate Judge

         This action was commenced in 2014, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and New York State law. Broadly stated, Plaintiffs allege violations of their rights when Defendants took part in entering Plaintiffs' property on three separate occasions over seven years ago. Docket Entry herein (“DE”) [1]. When this action was brought, Plaintiffs were represented by counsel. In 2018, this Court permitted Plaintiffs' counsel to withdraw, and in March of 2019, Plaintiffs elected to proceed pro se. Since making that election, Plaintiffs have vigorously represented themselves, taking part in paper discovery and conducting several depositions. Along with Defendants' counsel, Plaintiffs have engaged in motion practice, and have undertaken to adhere to deadlines regarding the completion of discovery.

         Presently pending are Plaintiffs' motions to compel discovery, extend the time in which to amend their complaint, and to amend their complaint. Also pending are Defendants' motion to compel, and their motion to extend the deadline for the completion of discovery.

         The District Court has ordered discovery to close on October 31, 2019. The supervision of discovery has been referred to this Court. DE [95]. To the extent that the parties' motions raise non-dispositive issues concerning the supervision of discovery, they are granted in part and denied in part as set forth below. To the extent that the motions raise dispositive issues, or to extend a deadline imposed by the District Court, this Court recommends that the motions be denied.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Plaintiffs' Motions: Docket Entries 117 and 120

         There are presently two motions interposed by Plaintiffs. Their first motion, appearing at DE [117], seeks to compel additional responses to paper discovery, and to extend the discovery schedule to allow Plaintiffs additional time in which to submit an amended complaint. In their second motion, appearing at DE [120], (submitted after Defendants' motion, which is discussed below) Plaintiffs oppose Defendants' request to extend discovery. In the event that discovery is extended, Plaintiffs seek the production of additional documents, to continue to depose Defendants, to depose additional individuals, and to file an amended complaint.

         For the reasons set forth below, this Court denies the motion to compel and seek additional documents and depositions. This Court recommends that the District Court adhere to the previously imposed discovery deadline, and that the motion to amend the complaint be denied.

         A. The Motion to Compel is Denied

         This Court has supervised discovery and is well familiar with the course thereof. In connection with its supervision, this Court has adjudicated several discovery disputes arising as to paper discovery and the taking of depositions. For example, in order to ensure that discovery was completed in a timely manner, this Court ordered particular dates for the taking of depositions. See Electronic Order dated October 5, 2019. With respect to paper discovery, this Court has ruled on issues of privilege, and has held that Defendants have complied with their discovery obligations. This Court has denied Plaintiffs' previous requests to extend discovery. See Electronic Order dated Octobers 22, 2019; see also DE [103].

         This Court has broad discretion of oversee discovery and to rule on disputes. That discretion is exercised within the confines of the scope of permissible discovery, as set forth in Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. That Rule has been amended, on several occasions, to reflect evolving judgments as to the proper scope of discovery. Over time, these amendments have been aimed at striking the proper balance between the need for evidence, and the avoidance of undue burden or expense. The current scope of discovery is defined to consist of information that is relevant to the parties' “claims and defenses.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26. This definition is in contrast to prior law allowing discovery of “any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action, ” which has been eliminated. Additionally, the current version of Rule 26 defines permissible discovery to consist of information that is, in addition to being relevant “to any party's claim or defense, ” also “proportional to the needs of the case.” Id; see generally Sibley v. Choice Hotels, Inc., No. CV 14-634, 2015 WL 9413101, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 22, 2015).

         As to proportionality, the Court considers:

• The importance of the issues at stake in the ...

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