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Taylorwallss v. McAbee

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 11, 2017




         Now pending before the Court are the motions for extension of time and to compel filed by Plaintiff (Docs. 90 and 91). The motion for extension of time is DENIED AS MOOT (Doc. 90) and the motion to compel is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART (Doc. 91).

         Plaintiff is proceeding on one count of retaliation, the Defendants Johnson and McAbee retaliated against him by issuing a false disciplinary ticket in May, 2014, that led to a disciplinary hearing on June 10, 2014, because he had filed a grievance against them in 2013. Plaintiff served his first set of interrogatories on Defendants on March 15, 2017. He now seeks an order compelling responses to Interrogatories 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 (Doc. 91), [1] additional time to serve a second set of interrogatories (a copy of which he has not provided), and additional time to respond to the pending motion for summary judgment. Defendants have responded (Doc. 92). Plaintiff then filed a response to the motion for summary judgment on September 6, 2017 (Doc. 93).

         Plaintiff interrogatories were mailed on March 17, 2017 (Doc. 76), the same day as the discovery deadline (Doc. 51). Plaintiff previously indicated that he was unaware that he should have served the discovery a full 30 days prior to the deadline so that Defendants had an adequate time to respond prior to the deadline.[2] On June 6, 2017, the discovery deadline was then extended to August 11, 2017 (Doc. 82). The Court considers Defendants' June 23, 2017 responses to Plaintiff's first set of interrogatories timely.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(3)(B) provides that a party may seek to compel the production of documents or the answers to interrogatories, served pursuant to Rules 33 and 34, when a party refuses to answer or provides evasive or incomplete responses. Such interrogatories and requests must be made within the confines of Rule 26(b), which provides that:

Parties my 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 it likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.

         Relevant evidence is that which “has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence” and that “is of consequence in determining the action.” Fed.R.Evid. 401. This Court enjoys “broad discretion in discovery matters” and in determining motions to compel. James v. Hyatt Regency Chicago, 707 F.3d 775, 784 (7th Cir. 2013). In doing so, the Court keeps in mind that:

Before restricting discovery, the court should consider ‘the totality of the circumstances, weighing the value of the material sought against the burden of providing it, ' and taking into account society's interest in furthering ‘the truthseeking function' in the particular case before the court. Patterson v. Avery Dennison Corp., 281 F.3d 676, 681 (7th Cir. 2002) (quoting Rowlin v. Alabama, 200 F.R.D. 459, 461 (M.D.Ala. 2001)).

         In interrogatory 3, Plaintiff asks both Defendants:

How long has the defendants work in the prison at Centralia Correctional Center and for the Illinois Department of Corrections, where are the defendants assigned, what are their duties, what do they remembers of the incident, what you wrote about the incident in any reports, has you ever been disciplined, if so what for [sic].

         In response, Defendants (besides objecting), referred Plaintiff to their motion for summary judgment filed on June 5, 2017. Referring Plaintiff to another document is improper. Defendants should have provided an actual response to this request. Nonetheless, an additional response will not be compelled. Information concerning Defendant McAbee's job duties and title, his actions with respect to the May 27, 2014 incident, and his interactions with Plaintiff are outlined in his affidavit (Doc. 79-1, pp. 1-4). The affidavit provides the relevant information to Plaintiff sought in this interrogatory. The same is true of Defendant Johnson's affidavit (Id. pp. 6-9). Requiring additional response at this stage of the proceedings would merely elevate form over substance and is unnecessary.

         Interrogatory 4 states:

Identify and attach a copy of any and all document showing who was supervising the defendants and giving the orders to take the steps that was taken against Plaintiff [sic].

         Defendants respond by stating that they have no documents responsive to this ...

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