United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
(“Report”) of United States Magistrate Judge
Reona J. Daly (Doc. 106), recommending that Plaintiff's
Motion for Sanctions (Doc. 103) be denied and Defendant's
Motions for Sanctions (Docs. 87, 102) be granted in part and
denied in part. Plaintiff filed a timely objection (Doc.
111). For the following reasons, Judge Daly's Report and
Recommendation is ADOPTED.
Peter Gakuba, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this
lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his
constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated
at Robinson Correctional Center (“Robinson”).
Plaintiff claims he was injured during court-ordered medical
testing for sexually transmitted diseases
(“STD”). Specifically, he alleges that instead of
a urine test, the nursing staff used a swab test that
perforated his urethra, and that he was then denied medical
treatment for the resulting injury.
has moved for sanctions, asserting Plaintiff has repeatedly
failed to provide responses to written discovery, failed to
comply with this Court's Orders compelling discovery
(see Docs. 84, 90), and refused to take his properly
noticed deposition. Defendant seeks reimbursement in the
amount of $1, 697.24 for the costs of the court reporter,
attorney's fees, and the cost of the transcript.
Additionally, Defendant seeks dismissal of the case pursuant
to Rule 37(b)(2) for Plaintiff's willful failure to fully
participate in his deposition and his continued failure to
respond to written discovery.
Report, Judge Daly ordered Plaintiff to respond to
Defendant's discovery requests, granted Defendant leave
to reschedule Plaintiff's deposition, and warned
Plaintiff that failure to comply with the Order could result
in dismissal of his case. Judge Daly also recommended that
the undersigned order Plaintiff to reimburse Defendant's
Counsel for the cost of the court reporter appearance in the
amount of $264.50.
Plaintiff filed a timely objection, the undersigned must
undertake a de novo review of the Report. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B), (C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); SDIL-LR
73.1(b); see also Govas v. Chalmers, 965 F.2d 298,
301 (7th Cir. 1992). De novo review requires the
Court to “give fresh consideration to those issues to
which specific objections have been made” and to make a
decision “based on an independent review of the
evidence and arguments without giving any presumptive weight
to the magistrate judge's conclusion.” Mendez
v. Republic Bank, 725 F.3d 651, 661 (7th Cir. 2013). The
Court “may accept, reject or modify the magistrate
judge's recommended decision.” Id.
majority of Plaintiff's 31-page objection to the Report
pertains to Judge Daly's discovery-related rulings during
the pendency of this case, including Judge Daly's denial
of his multiple requests for counsel and Orders requiring
Plaintiff to respond to discovery. In reviewing a magistrate
judge's ruling on a non-dispositive matter, a district
judge should not disturb the ruling unless it is contrary to
law or clearly erroneous. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); FED.
R. CIV. P. 72(a); SDIL-LR 73.1(a). Judge Daly's rulings
are neither contrary to law or clearly erroneous. First,
there is no constitutional or statutory right to
court-appointed counsel in a federal civil case. See
Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 649 (7th Cir. 2007).
Further, a litigant is obligated by the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure to comply with the discovery process. Thus,
the Court finds no clear error in Judge Daly's rulings.
Judge Daly's sanction recommendation, Plaintiff asserts
that he is indigent and should not be required to pay the
court reporter costs associated with his failure to sit for
his deposition. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
37(d)(1)(A)(i) provides that the Court may order sanctions if
a party fails to appear for his deposition after being served
proper notice. Sanctions may include the striking of
pleadings or dismissal of an action. Id. Sanctions
must also include the reasonable expenses of the moving party
unless the “failure was substantially justified, or
other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.”
Id. at 37(d)(3).
the total costs incurred by Defendants due to Plaintiff's
failure to sit for his deposition was $1, 697.24, including
the costs of the court reporting and transcript, mileage for
counsel, and attorney's fees billed for travel time. As
such, the Court finds the recommended monetary sanction to be
Judge Daly's Report and Recommendation is adopted in its
entirety. Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions (Doc. 103) is
DENIED and Defendant's Motions for
Sanctions (Docs. 87, 102) are GRANTED IN PART AND
DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff is
ORDERED to reimburse Counsel for Defendant
the cost of the court reporter appearance in the amount of
$264.50. Failure to pay Defendant's cost by September 8,
2019 SHALL result in dismissal of this
action for failure to obey a Court Order pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).