United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an inmate at Autry State Prison in Pelham, Georgia, commenced
the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
concerning events alleged to have occurred at Dodge County
Law Enforcement Center (“DCLEC”) in Eastman,
Georgia. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion to Compel.
(Doc. no. 32.)
complaint alleges Defendants were deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's medical needs while he was housed at DCLEC.
(See generally doc. no. 1.) On January 29, 2018,
Plaintiff filed a “request to clarify, ” in which
he asked for legal advice regarding the number of
interrogatories and requests for productions he could
propound and the sufficiency of Defendants' interrogatory
responses. (Doc. no. 30.) The Court denied Plaintiff's
request on the ground it may not give legal advice. (Doc. no.
31.) Plaintiff then filed the present motion to compel
seeking an order from the Court compelling Defendants to
answer certain interrogatory requests. (Doc. no. 32.) The
motion did not contain a certification that Plaintiff
conferred in good faith with opposing counsel before filing
the motion. (Id.) Defendants oppose the motion on
the grounds it does not comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 37 or the
Local Rules and they have already provided complete responses
to Plaintiff's requests. (Doc. nos. 35, 37, 41.)
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1), “Parties may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
party's claim or defense . . . . Information within this
scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be
discoverable.” The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
strongly favor full discovery whenever possible, Republic
of Ecuador v. Hinchee, 741 F.3d 1185, 1189 (11th Cir.
2013), and “[w]hen there is a doubt over relevancy, the
court should still permit discovery, ” Coker v.
Duke & Co., 177 F.R.D. 682, 685 (M.D. Ala. 1998).
However, “the Court obviously cannot compel production
of documents that do not exist” and “is generally
entitled to rely on representations made in discovery
requests and responses.” Hunter v. Corr. Corp. of
Am., No. CV 314-035, 2015 WL 5042245, at *2 (S.D. Ga.
Aug. 26, 2015) (internal citations omitted).
motion does not contain, as is required by Local Rule 26.5, a
statement that Plaintiff has made a good faith effort to
resolve this discovery dispute with defense counsel.
(See doc. no. 32.) As the Court previously informed
If Plaintiff wishes to file a motion to compel pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37, he should first contact the attorney for
Defendants and try to work out the problem; if Plaintiff
proceeds with the motion to compel, he should file a
statement certifying that he has contacted opposing counsel
in a good faith effort to resolve any dispute about
discovery. Loc. R. 26.5.
(Doc. no. 2, p. 4.)
duty-to-confer prerequisite is not an empty formality.
Merritt v. Marlin Outdoor Advert. Ltd., CV
410-053, 2010 WL 3667022, at *4 (S.D. Ga. Sept. 15, 2010).
Failure to include such good faith certification, or to make
the requisite good faith effort, amounts to a failure to
comply with Federal Rule 37(a)(1) and Local Rule 26.5 and
warrants denial of the discovery motion. See Holloman v.
Mail-Well Corp., 443 F.3d 832, 844 (11th Cir. 2006)
(affirming denial of discovery motion based on “a
failure to work with the defendants in good faith”
during discovery process); Haynes v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,
N.A., 466 F. App'x 763, 765-66 (11th Cir. 2012)
(affirming denial of motion to compel where movant failed to
consult in good faith with opponent before filing motion).
Therefore, Plaintiff's motion is ripe for denial for
failure to comply with Federal Rule 37(a)(1) and Local Rule
26.5. Nevertheless, the Court will address each of
Plaintiff's requests on the merits.
Interrogatories to Defendant Sheffield
dispute for Defendant Lynn Sheffield, Sheriff, are two
interrogatories as follows:
10. Was the medical provider, Dr. Wrobel, or the employees of
Southern Correctional Medicine provided records of Mr.
Clark's em. rm. medical exam and subsequent booking by
your employees at the Dodge Co. L.E.C. on May 12-13, 2015?
RESPONSE: Defendant is not personally aware whether such
records (if they exist) were provided to Southern
Correctional Medicine, but the normal process is for medical
documentation to be provided to the ...