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Baze v. Parker

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

May 8, 2013

RALPH BAZE, Plaintiff,
v.
PHILIP PARKER et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

THOMAS B. RUSSELL, District Judge.

Before the Court are Plaintiff's motion to strike (DN 35) and two motions for sanctions (DNs 36 & 42). Each will be considered below.

On October 10, 2012, the Court entered an Order denying Defendants' motion to hold this case in abeyance and ordering them to comply with the Court's previous Order to compel within 21 days. That Order also set the discovery deadline at December 10, 2012. On November 16, 2012, i.e., after the 21 days provided by the Court to comply with the Order to compel but within the amended discovery deadline, Defendants filed their notice of compliance with the Order to compel.

Plaintiff's motion to strike asks this Court to strike numerous documents apparently responsive to discovery requests from Plaintiff. As reason for his motion to strike, he argues that Defendants did not timely respond to his discovery requests. However, only the notice of compliance by Defendants, not their actual discovery responses, has been filed in this action (DN 34). That notice simply states that on November 16, 2012, Defendants' responses to admissions and to requests for documentation were mailed to Plaintiff. No documents having been filed in the record and the Court finding no prejudice to Plaintiff by the untimely response, Plaintiff's motion to strike (DN 35) is DENIED.

In Plaintiff's first motion for sanctions (DN 36), Plaintiff, among other things, argues that Defendants have "failed to provide any of the Plaintiff's requested documents or answer any of Plaintiff's interrogatories. Request for Admissions have gone compleatly unanswered or answered months after they were submitted with incompleat responses and far removed from the 30 day limit in which Rule 36 require them to be answered." In his second motion for sanctions (DN 42), he states that he cannot proceed in this case without the requested discovery because he cannot identify the John or Jane Does without discovery and because his requests for meeting minutes, memos, email, and so forth may hold evidence to show that Defendants knowingly deprived him of his constitutional rights. As sanctions, Plaintiff asks that Defendants be held in contempt, that the Court direct that the designated facts be taken as established, that the Court prohibit Defendants from supporting or opposing designated claims or defense, and that the Court render a default judgment against Defendants.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 provides sanctions for failure to comply with orders of the Court regarding discovery. "The imposition of sanctions or the type of sanctions imposed under Rule 37 is within the sound discretion of the Court based on the facts of each particular case." Freeman v. Troutt, No. 3:10-0697, 2011 WL 4343806, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. Sept. 14, 2011). Rule 37 provides the following as possible sanctions for failure to comply with the rules of discovery:

(i) directing that the matters embraced in the order or other designated facts be taken as established for purposes of the action, as the prevailing party claims;
(ii) prohibiting the disobedient party from supporting or opposing designated claims or defenses, or from introducing designated matters in evidence;
(iii) striking pleadings in whole or in part;
(iv) staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed;
(v) dismissing the action or proceeding in whole or in part;
(vi) rendering a default judgment against the disobedient party; or
(vii) treating as contempt of court the failure to obey any order except an order to submit to a ...

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