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Stephen L. White v. Det. De La Osa

November 22, 2011

STEPHEN L. WHITE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DET. DE LA OSA, DEFENDANT.



ORDER ON DEFENDANT DE LA OSA'S RENEWED MOTION TO COMPEL INTERROGATORY RESPONSES

This cause is before me on Defendant Detective Rolando De La Osa's Renewed Motion to Compel Complete Responses to Defendant's Interrogatories. [ECF No. 137]. Plaintiff did not file a response and the time for doing so has now expired. For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's motion to compel is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff Stephen L. White shall have twenty days to serve a second set of supplemental interrogatory responses on Defendant as detailed below, but Defendant's request for attorney's fees and other sanctions is DENIED.

I.Background and Introduction

This is an action for false arrest and malicious prosecution brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by Plaintiff against Defendant, a Miami-Dade County Police Department detective. [ECF No. 91]. Defendant previously moved to compel better responses to the same interrogatories and the Court granted that motion. [ECF Nos. 107; 109]. The Court then extended the Plaintiff's time to serve supplemental responses until September 22, 2011. [ECF No. 117].*fn1 Plaintiff subsequently served timely supplemental responses but Defendant contends that the supplemental responses to interrogatory numbers 1, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, and 21 are still incomplete and inadequate

To a great extent, the Undersigned agrees that Plaintiff's supplemental responses are insufficient and that Defendant is entitled to better answers. Plaintiff has had more than ample opportunity to fulfill his discovery obligations. The Court understands that Plaintiff is proceeding pro se -- but the Court has already taken his status into consideration on earlier discovery motions filed against him. The Court is concerned that Plaintiff either does not appreciate his obligation to provide complete responses to relevant discovery requests or has not yet adequately explained his inability to comply (assuming that this explanation accounts for some of the deficiencies).

As noted below, the Court is providing Plaintiff with additional leeway to fully comply with his discovery obligations, but the Court's willingness to continue its flexible approach is exhausted and Plaintiff is on notice that his discovery shortcomings will soon generate significant and adverse consequences if he does not fully and timely comply with this latest order compelling discovery responses from him.

Plaintiff shall therefore have twenty days from today's date to serve a second set of supplemental responses on Defendant (as detailed further below on an interrogatory-byinterrogatory basis).

Although I am ordering a second supplemental response, the Undersigned is concerned that Plaintiff may simply not know all of the requested information or may be unable to access it. If that is the case, then Plaintiff should clearly state in his second supplemental response that he either does not know or cannot obtain the requested information and also specifically detail the efforts he made to obtain the requested information.

Plaintiff is cautioned, however, that if he does not provide the information as ordered below (or does not provide a legitimate reason excusing for his failure to provide this information), then, should this case proceed toward trial, the Undersigned will recommend that the District Court preclude Plaintiff from using that information in any form on summary judgment or during the trial if Plaintiff could have, but did not, include the information in his second supplemental responses.

II.Analysis

a.Interrogatory Number 1

This interrogatory requests Plaintiff to:

Provide the name, address, telephone number, place of employment and job title of any person who has, claims to have, or whom you believe may have, knowledge or information pertaining to any fact alleged in the pleadings filed in this action, or any fact underlying the subject matter of this action. For each person, state the specific nature and substance of the knowledge or information the person may have. [ECF No. 137, p. 2]. In his original response dated June 9, 2011, Plaintiff provided several names, addresses, and other pieces of witness-identifying information, as well as descriptions of what these witnesses knew. [ECF No. 107-2, pp. 5-7]. But he added that "For other 'names, addresses, (etc) . . . whom . . . may have knowledge or information pertaining to any fact alleged in the pleadings . . .' See State v. White, No. 04-5266 (State's Discovery)," and he then simply noted those records are not available to him. [Id. at 6-7 (ellipsis in original)].

Defendant now complains that the supplemental response to this interrogatory is insufficient because Plaintiff "provides only the names and occupations of nineteen of the witnesses he lists." [ECF No. 137, p. 3]. Defendant also notes that Plaintiff does not describe the information these individuals possess.

Defendant's motion is granted as to interrogatory number 1. The Undersigned agrees that Plaintiff's supplemental response is insufficient as to these nineteen witnesses. Plaintiff is required to provide at least some description of the substance of these witnesses' knowledge or information. Therefore, Plaintiff must servea second supplemental response, containing the specific information requested in Defendant's first interrogatory, within 20 days of today's date. As noted ...


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