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Davis v. Hinds County

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

June 28, 2018

CHAKAKHAN R. DAVIS PLAINTIFF
v.
HINDS COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          F. KEITH BALL, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court are five motions: Plaintiff Chakakhan R. Davis's Motion for Leave to File Additional Discovery Requests [79], Davis's Motion for Sanctions [92], Defendant Hinds County's Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Davis's Motion for Sanctions [98], Davis's Motion for Sanctions against Defense Counsel [100], and Davis's Motion to Compel the Medical Expert Report of Dr. Ray Melton [109].

         Davis, proceeding pro se, has filed suit against Hinds County. She asserts various claims under state and federal law in relation to her May 26, 2015, arrest and subsequent detention at the Hinds County Detention Facility.

         I. Davis's Motion for Leave to File Additional Discovery Requests [79]

         Davis requests that the Court permit her to serve nine interrogatories in excess of the twenty-five permitted by the Case Management Order [39].[1] See [79] at 2. She previously served these nine requests on Hinds County, who objected based on the twenty-five interrogatory limit. See [90-2]. The nine interrogatories Davis seeks permission to propound would bring her total number of interrogatories to thirty-four. See [90-1]; [90-2]. Davis contends that the additional discovery is needed:

because of the deficiencies present in the Hinds County Sheriff's Departments Internal Affairs Deputy Sheriffs Body Cam Wearing and preservation of excessive force video evidence policy (ies) or practical safe guards to prevent the loss, tampering or destruction of such police or officers misuse of excessive force or other similar recorded brutality incident (s).

[79] at 2.

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(1) limits the number of interrogatories one party may serve on another to twenty-five. “[T]he party seeking leave to serve excess interrogatories must make a ‘particularized showing' to exceed the twenty-five interrogatory limit.” Parkcrest Builders, LLC v. Hous. Auth. of New Orleans (HANO), No. CV 15-1533, 2017 WL 1426933, at *3 (E.D. La. Apr. 21, 2017). “Pro se litigants are not relieved of their obligation to follow the rules governing discovery, but . . . the ‘particularized showing' to obtain leave to serve additional interrogatories cannot be divorced from [a p]laintiff's pro se status.” McNeil v. Hayes, No. 1:10-CV-01746-AWI, 2014 WL 1125014, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 20, 2014).

         Davis's claims relate in part to her arrest by Hinds County Sheriff's Deputies. The interrogatories she seeks to propound on Hinds County pertain to the county's use of police body cameras during the course of arrests. See [90-2] at 5-10. Accordingly, the Court finds that she should be given leave to serve the additional nine interrogatories listed as Interrogatory Nos. 6-14 in her Second Set of Interrogatories. See [90-2] at 5-11. Davis's motion [79] is granted to the extent it requests permission to propound those specific nine interrogatories to Hinds County.[2] The motion is denied to the extent it requests any other relief.

         Because Davis has already served the interrogatories in question, the Court orders Hinds County to provide supplemental responses to Interrogatories Nos. 6-14. The Court sets a deadline of July 12, 2018, for Hinds County to provide the supplemental responses to Davis.

         II. Hinds County's Motion for an Extension of Time to Respond [98] to Davis's Motion for Sanctions against Hinds County for Failure to Retain Body Camera Footage [92]

         Davis filed a motion for sanctions against Hinds County [92] on February 20, 2018. She filed that motion conventionally with the Clerk of Court, despite her certificate of service stating that it was electronically filed through the Court's CM/ECF system. See 92 at 17 (certificate of service stating motion was electronically filed, but handwritten note stating motion left with a Deputy Clerk).

         On March 5, 2018, Hinds County requested a one-week extension to file its response to Davis's motion. Hinds County claims it did not receive an exhibit to the motion, specifically an audio CD, until one week after Davis filed her motion. In her response, Davis concedes that she did not serve Hinds County with a copy of the exhibit along with her motion. Hinds County only received a copy of exhibit after obtaining it from the Clerk of Court on February 27, 2018.

         Rule 5 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a party to serve a copy of any written motion, except one that may be heard ex parte, on every other party to the case. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5(a)(1). Because Davis never served a complete copy of the motion on Hinds County, she failed to comply with Rule 5. Under the circumstances, the Court finds Hinds County's motion for an extension of time to respond [98] should be granted. Hinds County's response, filed March 14, 2018, is deemed timely and will be considered.

         III. Davis's Motion for Sanctions against Hinds County for Failure to ...


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