United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JAMES A. HARNAGE
JANINE BRENNAN, et al.
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court are two motions filed by self-represented
plaintiff James A. Harnage (“plaintiff”). One
motion seeks to compel responses to, and sanctions for
defendant Dr. Wu's failure to respond to, plaintiff's
interrogatories. [Doc. #44]. The second motion requests an
extension of time to complete discovery and to modify the
current scheduling order. [Doc. #45]. Defendants have filed
an objection to plaintiff's motions. [Doc. #49]. For the
reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS, in part,
and DENIES, in part, plaintiff's motion to
compel [Doc. #44], and GRANTS, in
part, plaintiff's motion for extension of time
to complete discovery and modification of scheduling order
[Doc. #45], for the limited purpose of
completing the discovery ordered herein.
Relevant Procedural History
Court presumes familiarity with the general procedural and
factual background of this matter, and outlines the
procedural history only as relevant to the current dispute.
November 13, 2017, plaintiff filed a “Motion to Expand
Discovery, ” which sought to increase the number of
interrogatories he could serve on each defendant. See Doc.
#30. On November 15, 2017, defendants filed an objection to
that motion. [Doc. #31]. On November 20, 2017, Judge Thompson
referred plaintiff's motion to the undersigned. [Doc.
#32]. The next day, the Court denied plaintiff's motion,
without prejudice. [Doc. #33]. The Court stated, inter alia:
“If plaintiff wishes to pursue this request, he may
file a renewed motion that includes a list of the
interrogatories he wishes to serve, and explains why each of
the interrogatories is necessary and appropriate under Rule
26.” Id. At no time since that Order has
plaintiff filed a renewed motion for permission to serve
December 11, 2017, Judge Thompson held a telephonic status
conference, and ordered that all discovery be completed by
February 9, 2018. See Doc. #40. Judge Thompson further
ordered that any dispositive motions be filed by March 12,
2018. See Id. No dispositive motions having been
filed, on April 9, 2018, Judge Thompson entered a Trial
Memorandum Order, requiring that the parties jointly file by
May 9, 2018, a Trial Memorandum for approval by the Court.
filed the motions now at issue on April 11, 2018, and April
16, 2018, respectively. The Court addresses each in turn.
Motion to Compel [Doc. #44]
moves to compel answers to 183 separate interrogatories
directed to defendant Dr. Wu. See Doc. #44. Plaintiff also
seeks the award of “punitive monetary sanctions to be
awarded to charity” in light of “defendants
failure to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure[.]” Id. at 1 (sic). Plaintiff
asserts that Dr. Wu has provided no response to any of the
183 interrogatories. See Id. Dr. Wu responds that
plaintiff never sought permission to serve 183
interrogatories and that answering 183 interrogatories is
overly burdensome and an abusive discovery tactic. See Doc.
#49 at 1.
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). “[T]he burden of
demonstrating relevance is on the party seeking
discovery[.]” Mason Tenders Dist. Council of
Greater New York v. Phase Constr. Servs., Inc., 318
F.R.D. 28, 36 (S.D.N.Y. 2016). Once the party seeking
discovery has demonstrated relevance, the burden then shifts
to “[t]he party resisting discovery ... [to] show why
discovery should be denied.” Cole v. Towers Perrin
Forster & Crosby, 256 F.R.D. 79, 80 (D. Conn. 2009)