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Solman v. Corl

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 31, 2016

VANCE SOLMAN
v.
E. CORL, et al.

          RULING ON MOTION TO COMPEL AND MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

          HON. SARAH A. L. MERRIAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is a motion by defendants E. Corl and Tom Morrasini (“defendants”) for a protective order, and a motion to compel by self-represented plaintiff Vance Solman (“plaintiff”). Each motion is fully briefed. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES defendants' Motion for a Protective Order, and GRANTS plaintiff's Motion to Compel.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, an incarcerated self-represented party, filed this action on November 5, 2015, pursuant to section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code. [Doc. #1]. Plaintiff alleges that he was retaliated against for the filing of a prior federal lawsuit, in violation of his constitutional rights. See Id. On February 25, 2016, Chief Judge Janet C. Hall issued an Initial Review Order, permitting plaintiff's First Amendment retaliation claims to proceed against defendants Corl and Morrasini in their individual and official capacities. See Doc. #7. The Initial Review Order also established a schedule for the case, setting deadlines for discovery and for the filing of any dispositive motions. See Id. at 27-28.

         Discovery was set to close on August 25, 2016. See Doc. #7 at 28. On September 15, 2016, defendants filed the instant Motion for a Protective Order. [Doc. #26]. Defendants seek an order protecting them from responding to the plaintiff's Second Request for Production of Documents, as the request was mailed on the date of the discovery deadline. See Id. Plaintiff, in turn, filed the instant Motion to Compel responses to the same request. [Doc. #29]. Plaintiff argues that defendants should be compelled to respond to his second discovery requests, as they were propounded a day prior to the discovery deadline, and that any delay was occasioned by defendant's late response to plaintiff's first requests.[1] See id.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth the scope and limitations of permissible discovery:

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

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). “The party resisting discovery bears the burden of showing why discovery should be denied.” Cole v. Towers Perrin Forster & Crosby, 256 F.R.D. 79, 80 (D. Conn. 2009).

         A protective order may be issued by the Court pursuant to Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides, in relevant part: “The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including ... forbidding the disclosure or discovery[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1)(A). “Rule 26(c) confers broad discretion on the trial court to decide when a protective order is appropriate and what degree of protection is required.” Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 36 (1984). Further, “[w]here the discovery is relevant, the burden is upon the party seeking nondisclosure or a protective order to show good cause.” Dove v. Atl. Capital Corp., 963 F.2d 15, 19 (2d Cir. 1992).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Defendants request protection from responding to plaintiff's Second Request for Production of Documents, as, defendants contend, the requests were served late. [Doc. #26-1]. Defendants contend that they should not be required to respond to plaintiff's requests because plaintiff “waited until the very close of the discovery period to serve his second demand, ” and that no good cause or diligence can be shown that would justify an extension of the discovery deadline. Id. at 3.

         Plaintiff objects, and argues that defendants should be required to respond to plaintiff's second requests, as they were served promptly upon receipt of defendant's untimely response to plaintiff's first requests. See Doc. #29 at 1; Doc. #33 at 1. Plaintiff claims that the requests seek relevant discovery, and were propounded as a follow-up to defendants' discovery responses. See Doc. #29 at 1. Defendants have filed an objection to plaintiff's motion to compel that simply directs the Court's attention back to defendants' Motion for a Protective Order. See Doc. #36 at 2. Defendants do not offer any substantive objections to the requests themselves, nor do defendants respond to the allegation that defendants' first discovery responses were late. See generally, id.

         Discovery in this case closed on August 25, 2016. Once the deadline for discovery has passed, discovery may be reopened only for good cause. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4); see also Gucci Am., Inc. v. Guess?, Inc.,790 F.Supp.2d 136, 139 (S.D.N.Y. 2011). “The primary consideration in determining whether good cause has been shown is whether the moving party can demonstrate diligence.” Casagrande v. Norm Bloom & Son, LLC, No. 3:11CV1918(CSH), 2014 WL 5817562, at *2 (D. Conn. Nov. 10, 2014) (quotation marks and citation omitted). “Good cause may be shown if a party cannot, despite [his] due diligence, reasonably meet the schedule. The requisite good cause is based on factors such as the diligence vel non of the party requesting an extension, bad faith vel non of the party ...


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