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Vera v. Rodriguez

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

July 28, 2017

ESTHER VERA, as personal representative of MANUEL FLORES, deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ in his individual capacity, BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF BERNALILLO COUNTY, and DAN HOUSTON, in his individual and official capacities as BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S RULE 37 MOTION

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Rule 37 Motion (Doc. 73), filed May 18, 2017. The Court has reviewed the motion, the memoranda and exhibits submitted by the parties, and the relevant authorities. For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds that the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 governs sanctions for various discovery abuses. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37. For instance, the failure to disclose information, to supplement a response, or to admit a fact can be sanctionable offenses. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c). If a party fails to provide proper initial disclosures under Rule 26(a)[1] or fails to supplement his initial disclosures or discovery responses under Rule 26(e), he “is not allowed to use that information or witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(c)(1). In addition to or in lieu of disallowing the use of any previously-undisclosed information, the court may, on a motion by the opposing party, award reasonable fees and expenses, inform the jury of the party's failure, or impose certain other sanctions, including:

(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

Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1)(C) & 37(b)(2)(A)(i)-(vi).

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Request for Production No. 21

         This request for production, seeks “any documentation of changes in the requirements of the standard required curriculum for field service deputies between January 1, 2017 and the present, including the number of hours required.” Doc. 73, Ex. 1, at 16. Defendant Bernalillo County objected on the ground that it did not understand the request and would respond if and when Plaintiff clarified the request. Doc. 73, Ex. 1, at 16. Following the filing of the instant motion, on June 15, 2017, Defendant Bernalillo County provided a supplemental production of documents to Plaintiff. Doc. 100 at 1. According to Plaintiff, this supplementation rendered moot her motion with respect to Request for Production No. 21. Id. As such, the Court denies as moot Plaintiff's motion with respect to Request for Production No. 21.

         B. ...


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