United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Southern Division
E. Gales United States Magistrate Judge.
case comes before the court on the motion (D.E. 48) by
plaintiff Raquay Eddie ("plaintiff') to compel
defendant City of Whiteville ("Whiteville") to
respond to plaintiffs requests for production of documents,
extend deadlines in the Scheduling Order (D.E. 20, amended at
D.E. 27, 47), and award him a proportionate sanction.
Whiteville has filed a response in opposition to plaintiffs
motion. See D.E. 50. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion will be denied in part and allowed in part.
case arises from injuries sustained by plaintiff during his
November 2016 arrest by Whiteville law enforcement officers.
Am. Compl. (D.E. 32) ¶¶ 14-16. Plaintiff asserts
claims in his amended complaint for (1) trespass upon his
person by a public officer/assault and battery (id.
¶¶ 39-44); (2) negligence (id.
¶¶ 45-50); (3) use of excessive force in violation
of the Fourth Amendment (id. ¶¶ 51-58);
and (4) abuse of process (id. ¶¶ 59-63).
Defendants deny the material allegations of the amended
complaint. See generally Defs' Am. Ans. (D.E.
December 2018, plaintiff served on Whiteville his first
requests for production of documents (D.E. 49-1). As of the
date the instant motion was filed, 16 June 2019, Whiteville
had not responded to the requests for production of
documents. Pl's Mot. (D.E.48). On 21 June 2019,
Whiteville served its responses to the requests for
production of documents. See 21 June 2019 Cover Ltr.
(D.E. 50-1). Whiteville urges the court to deny plaintiffs
motion in its entirety as moot.
APPLICABLE LEGAL PRINCIPLES
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure enable parties to obtain
information by serving requests for discovery on each other,
including requests for production of documents. See
generally Fed. R. Civ. P. 26-37. Rule 26 provides
for a broad scope of 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).
district court has broad discretion in determining relevance
for discovery purposes. Seaside Farm, Inc. v. United
States, 842 F.3d 853, 860 (4th Cir. 2016); Watson v.
Lowcountry Red Cross, 974 F.2d 482, 489 (4th Cir. 1992).
The party resisting discovery bears the burden of
establishing the legitimacy of its objections. Eramo v.
Rolling Stone LLC, 314 F.R.D. 205, 209 (W.D. Va. 2016)
("[T]he party or person resisting discovery, not the
party moving to compel discovery, bears the burden of
persuasion." (quoting Kinetic Concepts, Inc. v.
ConvaTec Inc., 268 F.R.D. 226, 243 (M.D. N.C. 2010)));
Brey Corp. v. LQ Mgmt., L.L.C., No.
AW-11-cv-00718-AW, 2012 WL 3127023, at *4 (D. Md. 26 Jul.
2012) ("In order to limit the scope of discovery, the
'party resisting discovery bears the burden of showing
why [the discovery requests] should not be
granted.'" (quoting Clere v. GC Servs.,
L.P., No. 3:10-cv-00795, 2011 WL 2181176, at *2 (S.D.
W.Va. 3 June 2011))).
governs requests for production of documents. A party
asserting an objection to a particular request "must
specify the part [to which it objects] and permit inspection
of the rest." Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(C).
allows for the filing of a motion to compel discovery
responses. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(3)(B). Rule 37
requires that a motion to compel discovery "include a
certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or
attempted to confer with the person or party failing to make
disclosure or discovery in an effort to obtain it without
court action." Id. (a)(1). Similarly, Local
Civil Rule 7.1(c) requires that "[c]ounsel must also
certify that there has been a good faith effort to resolve
discovery disputes prior to the filing of any discovery
motions." Local Civ. R. 7.1(c), E.D. N.C. ; see
Jones v. Broadwell, No. 5:10-CT-3223-FL, 2013 WL
1909985, at *1 (E.D. N.C. 8 May 2013) (denying motion to
compel which did not state that party complied with Rule
37(a) or Local Civil Rule 7.1(c)).
addition, Rule 37 requires that the moving party be awarded
expenses when a motion to compel discovery is granted or the
disclosure is provided after the motion is filed, except when
the movant filed the motion without attempting in good faith
beforehand to obtain the discovery without court
intervention, the opposing party's opposition to the
discovery was substantially justified, or other circumstances
would make an award of expenses unjust. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(5)(A). If a motion to compel is denied, expenses must
be awarded to the person opposing the motion except when the
motion was substantially justified or other circumstances
would make an award of expenses unjust. Id.
(a)(5)(B). If a motion to compel is allowed in part and
denied in part, the court may apportion the expenses for the
motion. Id. (a)(5)(C).