United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
ORDER ON DISCOVERY MOTIONS
WOLLMANN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
Clayton Walker is a pro se litigant who has been
granted in forma pauperis status in this case.
Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel (Doc. 58), a Motion for
Fees for Expert Witnesses and Extension of Time to Identify
Experts (Doc. 59), a Motion to Amend Pleadings and Add
Parties (Doc. 60), a Motion for Civil Rules and Procedures
(Doc. 61), and a Motion for Copies of Pleadings (Doc. 68).
Defendants City of Rapid City and Cory Shafer filed a Motion
for Protective Order (Doc. 62) and a Motion to Extend
Deadlines (Doc. 72). United States District Court Judge
Jeffrey L. Viken, Chief Judge, referred the case to this
magistrate judge for the purposes of resolving pretrial
motions and conducting any necessary hearings. (Doc. 69).
9, 2015, Plaintiff had an interaction with Rapid City Police
Officer Cory Shafer that Plaintiff claims resulted in
violations of his constitutional and statutory rights. (Doc.
1 at p. 3). Plaintiff asserts Officer Shafer stopped him on
the street and proceeded to place him in handcuffs, search
his backpack and inspect his wallet's contents.
(Id.) Officer Shafer checked whether Plaintiff had
outstanding warrants and discovered there was a warrant.
(Id.) While Officer Shafer placed Plaintiff in his
police vehicle, Plaintiff alleges he suffered a head injury.
(Id.) Plaintiff and Defendants filed the following
Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (Doc. 58)
dissatisfaction over discovery stems from the Defendant's
responses, or lack thereof, to his “First Motion for
Discovery Request” served on Defendants on April 1,
2018. (Doc. 63-1). The Discovery Request contains 42 numbered
categories, many of which appear to fall outside the bounds
of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b), and does not
specify which categories are intended to be interrogatories
under Rule 33, or requests for production under Rule 34.
Rules 33 and 34, Defendants had thirty days to serve answers,
responses, and objections to Plaintiff's requests.
Defendants' responses were accordingly due on May 2,
2018; nevertheless, Plaintiff submitted the instant Motion to
Compel on April 15, 2018, which the Clerk of Courts filed on
April 17, 2018. (Doc. 58). In his motion, Plaintiff states
“the good faith time has came [sic] to a halt, and 14
days has [sic] passed.” (Id.). Plaintiff
states he “attempted multiple times to dispute and got
no communication in return, ” and “No attempted
[sic] to dispute under D.S.D. LR 37.1 was offered by the
defendants.” (Id.). In support of his motion,
Plaintiff cites “SDCL, ” Brady v.
Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and the Ninth Amendment of
the U.S. Constitution. (Id.).
Rule 37.1 states that “[a] party filing a motion
concerning a discovery dispute must file a separate
certification describing the good faith efforts of the
parties to resolve the dispute.” D.S.D. L.R. 37.1.
“[T]he application of local rules is a matter
peculiarly within the district court's province.”
Chrysler Credit Corp. v. Cathey, 977 F.2d 447, 449
(8th Cir. 1992) (internal quotations omitted); Reasonover
v. St. Louis Cnty., 447 F.3d 569, 579 (8th Cir. 2006)
(“District courts have broad discretion to . . .
enforce local rules.”). A movant's failure to
comply with the meet and confer requirement may dictate
denial of his motion. United States v. Wicks, No.
11-CV-5027-JLV, 2012 WL 1576000, at *2 (D.S.D. May 3, 2012)
(analyzing D.S.D. L.R. 37.1). Furthermore, although pro
se pleadings are to be construed liberally, pro
se litigants are not excused from compliance with
procedural and local rules. Ziegler v. Norton, Civ.
No. 04-4098, 2006 WL 571866, at *1 (D.S.D. Mar. 6, 2006).
Plaintiff failed to file a separate certification describing
the parties' good faith efforts to resolve any discovery
disputes. Even if Plaintiff had filed the required
certification, his good faith efforts are cast into doubt by
the fact he filed this Motion to Compel well before the
deadline for Defendants' responses. Plaintiff therefore
has failed to comply with Local Rule 37.1, and his motion is
denied without prejudice.
Defendants' Motion for Protective Order (Doc.
have moved for a protective order or in the alternative, to
strike the Plaintiff's “First Motion for
Discovery.” Subsequent to filing the Motion for a
Protective Order, the Defendants filed a dispositive motion
for summary judgment which is pending the court's
resolution. Defendants assert they are entitled to qualified
immunity protects government officials from liability and
from having to defend themselves in a civil suit if the
conduct of the officials “does not violate clearly
established statutory and constitutional rights.”
Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982).
Qualified immunity is immunity from suit, not just a defense
to liability at trial. Michell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S.
511, 526 (1985). Therefore, the Supreme Court has
“repeatedly stressed the importance of resolving
immunity questions at the earliest possible stage in
litigation.” Hunter v. Bryant, 502 U.S. 224,
Supreme Court has stated that “if the defendant does
plead the [qualified] immunity defense the district court
should resolve that threshold question before permitting
discovery.” Crawford-El v. Britton, 523 U.S.
574, 598 (1992). Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 “vests the trial judge