United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
JULIE V. DEGRAW, as personal representative of the Estate of Donald C. DeGraw, deceased, Plaintiff,
BOB GUALTIERI, in his individual capacity as Pinellas County Sheriff, and GREGORY GOEPFERT, in his individual capacity as Pinellas County Deputy Sheriff, Defendants.
P. FLYNN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
cause is before the Court upon Plaintiff Julie V.
DeGraw's Amended Motion to Compel Discovery from
Defendant Gualtieri (“Motion to Compel”) (Doc.
58) and Motion for Leave to Take Depositions in Excess of Ten
(“Motion for Leave”) (Doc. 60). Defendant Bob
Gualtieri, the Sheriff of Pinellas County
(“Sheriff”), filed a Response in Opposition to
the Motion to Compel (Doc. 61) and the Sheriff and Defendant
Gregory Goepfert filed a Response in Opposition to the Motion
for Leave (Doc. 62). Plaintiff additionally filed a Reply in
support of her Motion for Leave (Doc. 69). Upon
consideration, Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (Doc. 58) is
DENIED, and her Motion for Leave is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
case alleges use of excessive force, specifically a Taser, by
a deputy responding to a medical seizure suffered by Donald
DeGraw, now deceased (Doc. 27). Here, Plaintiff seeks to
compel the Sheriff to provide better responses to
Plaintiff's First and Second Requests for Production;
specifically, Requests 8, 9, and 10 of the First Request for
Production and Request 1 of the Second Request for
Production. The Sheriff argues that Plaintiff failed to
confer with the Sheriff before filing the Motion to Compel,
thereby warranting denial of the motion. In addition, the
Sheriff asserts that its objections to the requests should
otherwise be sustained.
to compel discovery under Rule 37(a), Federal Rules Civil
Procedure, are committed to the sound discretion of the trial
court. See Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. Westrope,
730 F.2d 729, 731 (11th Cir. 1984). Discovery under the
Federal Rules is governed by the principle of
proportionality. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1)
defines the scope of discoverability as follows:
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
proponent of a motion to compel discovery bears the initial
burden of proving that the information sought is relevant.
Moore v. Lender Processing Servs. Inc., No.
3:12-CV-205-J, 2013 WL 2447948, at *2 (M.D. Fla. June 5,
initial matter, the Court agrees that Plaintiff's failure
to meaningfully confer or attempt to confer in good faith on
the substance of the dispute prior to filing it constitutes
sufficient grounds to deny the Motion to Compel. See
Esrick v. Mitchell, No. 5:08-cv-50-Oc- 10GRJ, 2008 WL
5111246, at *1 & n.6 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 3, 2008);
Regions Bank v. Legal Outsource PA, No.
2:14-cv-476-FtM-29MRM, 2016 WL 7228738, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Mar.
10, 2016) (denying in part motion to compel and finding
movants failed to satisfy their obligations under both
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(1) and L.R. 3.01(g),
M.D. Fla., because the parties never meaningfully conferred
or attempted to confer in good faith on the substance of
their dispute); Commerce First Fin., LLC v. Summerlin
Bass, LLC, No. 2:10-cv-290-CEH-DNF, 2011 WL 13141496, at
*2 (M.D. Fla. June 16, 2011); Sellers v. Rushmore Loan
Mgmt. Servs., LLC, No. 3:15-cv-1006-J-32PDB,
2017 WL 6344315, at *7 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 12, 2017).
addition, however, the Sheriff's objections to the
requests at issue are well-taken. Request 8 in the First
Request for Production seeks:
Any and all policies, procedures, manuals, articles,
memoranda, correspondence, communications, audiotapes,
videotapes, programs, brochures, leaflets, orders and
documents of any kind of nature or description, including
computer generated documents, prepared by you or any of your
agents, employees and/or representatives, or created by
others and in your possession but not adopted by you,
mandated by others and adopted by you, which set forth
procedures, standards, policies, guidelines, comments,
suggestions, or criteria related to the use of dart-firing
stun guns (Taser) in effect during the five (5) year time
period from September 7, 2011 through and including September
Doc. 58-6 at ¶ 8.
Sheriff responded to the request as follows:
The Sheriff objects to Request No. 8 because it is vague and
ambiguous. The request is also irrelevant and not reasonably
calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
The Sheriff will produce the policies and procedures in his
possession, custody, or control regarding the use of tasers
in effect during the five-year period from September 7, 2011
through September 7, 2016.
Doc. 58-7 at ¶ 8. The three requests in the First
Request for Production at issue here contain essentially the
same phrasing and seek any and all documents not only
prepared by the Sheriff's Office personnel, but also
“created by others and in your possession but not
adopted by you, or mandated by others and adopted by you,
which set forth procedures, standards, policies, guidelines,
comments, suggestions, or criteria related to the use
of” (1) Tasers (Request No. 8); (2) responding to
medical emergencies or medical distress (Request No. 9); and
(3) the “use of potentially lethal force”
(Request No. 10). It is undisputed that the Sheriff
subsequently produced policies and procedures in relation to
these three areas of inquiry for the applicable timeframe as
well as thousands of pages of Taser training materials. The
Sheriff, however, argues that the remainder of these three
requests is vague, ambiguous, irrelevant and potentially
involves tens of thousands of pages of documents and things
that would take hundreds of hours to identify, retrieve, and
produce (Doc. 61 at 9). Plaintiff asserts that she is
entitled to find out what ...