United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
MARGARITO T. DOMANTAY, Plaintiff,
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.
S. SNEED, UNTIED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Compel Defendant to Answer Plaintiff's First Set of
Interrogatories (“Motion”) (Dkt. 46) and
Defendant's response in opposition (Dkt. 47). For the
reasons stated below, the Motion is granted in part and
denied in part.
brings this action against the United States of America
(“the Government”) pursuant the Federal Torts
Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1).
(Dkt. 26.) Plaintiff alleges that he was injured while
grocery shopping at the commissary on the MacDill Air Force
Base in Tampa, Florida. (Id.) Specifically,
Plaintiff alleges that on May 2, 2015, he was waiting in line
to buy his groceries when a customer behind him using an
electronic shopping cart lost control of the cart, hitting
Plaintiff's left knee. (Dkt. 1.)
the course of discovery, Plaintiff served the Government with
his First Set of Interrogatories, consisting of ten
interrogatories. (Dkt. 46.) In his April 26, 2018 Motion,
Plaintiff asserts that the Government failed to respond to
the interrogatories and that Plaintiff conferred in good
faith with the Government prior to filing his Motion in
compliance with Middle District of Florida Local Rule
3.01(g). (Id.) In response, the Government argues
that it has responded to Plaintiff's First Set of
Interrogatories. (Dkt. 47.) The Government first served its
Responses and Objections to Plaintiff's First Set of
Interrogatories, objecting to all ten interrogatories. (Dkt.
47-1.) After conferring with Plaintiff, the Government
amended its responses and provided responsive information to
all but four of the interrogatories. (Dkt. 47-2.) Plaintiff
received the Government's Amended Responses and
Objections to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories
(“Amended Responses”) on April 13, 2018, prior to
his filing of the subject Motion. (Dkt. 47-3.) The Government
now contends that the remaining four interrogatories are not
relevant to Plaintiff's claims and continues to assert
its objections. (Dkt. 47.)
maintain great discretion to regulate discovery.
Patterson v. U.S. Postal Serv., 901 F.2d 927, 929
(11th Cir. 1990). The court has broad discretion to compel or
deny discovery. Josendis v. Wall to Wall Residence
Repairs, Inc., 662 F.3d 1292, 1306 (11th Cir. 2011).
Through discovery, parties may obtain materials that are
within the scope of discovery, meaning they are
nonprivileged, relevant to any party's claim or defense,
and proportional to the needs of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). The U.S. Supreme Court held that the term
“relevant” in Rule 26 should encompass “any
matter that bears on, or that reasonably could lead to other
matter that could bear on, any issue that is or may be in the
case.” Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437
U.S. 340, 351-52 (1978). A party, “[o]n notice to other
parties and all affected persons, ” may move to compel
discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1).
review of the Government's Amended Responses, the
Government adequately responded to Interrogatories 1, 4, 6,
7, 8, and 9. (Dkt. 47-2.) Plaintiff's Motion is denied as
to those interrogatories. With regard to Interrogatories 2,
3, and 5, Plaintiff seeks information concerning the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). (Dkt.
47-2 at 1-2.) For instance, Interrogatory 2 asks whether
“the width of the shopping aisles at the MacDill AFB
Commissary [is] compliant with the ADA Laws?” and
Interrogatory No. 3 asks “[h]ow many people in
wheelchairs can be shopping at the same time at the
Commissary for the Commissary not to be in violation of the
width of the shopping aisles?” (Dkt. 47-2 at 1-2.) In
response, the Government objected to both interrogatories as
vague, overbroad, not relevant to Plaintiff's claims, and
not proportional to the needs of the case as there are no ADA
claims at issue and Plaintiff has not alleged that any
incident occurred in the shopping aisles. (Id.)
Likewise, the Government objected to Interrogatory 5 as
Plaintiff seeks information regarding whether the commissary
has ever been in violation of any ADA law within the past
five years. (Dkt. 47-2 at 2.) In his Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff alleges claims under the FTCA, not the ADA.
(See Dkt. 26.) The information Plaintiff seeks does
not bear on any issue that is or may be in this case. See
Oppenheimer Fund, Inc., 437 U.S. at 351-52. Thus,
Interrogatories 2, 3, and 5 seek information that is not
relevant, and Plaintiff's Motion is denied as to
Interrogatories 2, 3, and 5.
Interrogatory 10, Plaintiff asks “[h]ow many employees
at the commissary were working on May 2, 2015?” (Dkt.
47-2 at 3.) The Government objects, arguing that the
interrogatory is vague and overbroad as it does not define
the term “employees” and is not relevant to the
claims as Plaintiff alleges that he was injured by a customer
in an electronic shopping cart, not an employee. (Dkt. 47 at
5; Dkt. 47-2 at 3.) However, the term “employees”
is neither vague nor overbroad. Further, the information
Plaintiff seeks could reasonably lead to matters that bear on
Plaintiff's allegations, such as a possible witness to
Plaintiff's incident. Therefore, the Government is
directed to supplement its response with the number of
employees working at the commissary in the MacDill Air Force
Base on May 2, 2015.
the Court notes that while Plaintiff alleged that he complied
with the conferral requirement of Local Rule 3.01(g), it
appears that he did not do so. M.D. Fla. Local R. 3.01(g);
(Dkt. 47 at 3.) All litigants are “subject to the
relevant law and rules of court, including the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, ” regardless of whether the
litigant is represented by an attorney. See Moon v.
Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1989). Further,
the Eleventh Circuit requires pro se litigants to
“conform to procedural rules.” Loren v.
Sasser, 309 F.3d 1296, 1304 (11th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff
is reminded to comply with the Court's Local Rules.
1. Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Defendant to Answer Plaintiffs
First Set of Interrogatories (Dkt. 46) is
GRANTED in ...