United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
Steven Monroe, Jr., Plaintiff, Pro se, Deer Lodge, MT.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
Jeremiah C. Lynch, United States Magistrate Judge.
Before the Court is Defendant Sgt. Dave Russell's Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b) motion for sanctions and award of reasonable attorney's fees. Plaintiff Steven Monroe, Jr. did not file a brief in response to the motion. For the reasons discussed, the Court recommends that the motion be granted and this action be dismissed.
Plaintiff Steven Monroe, Jr., proceeding pro se, is currently incarcerated at the Montana State Prison. At the time of the events that are the subject of this lawsuit, Monroe was a pretrial detainee incarcerated at the Ravalli County Detention Center in Hamilton, Montana. Defendant Sgt. Dave Russell was employed as a guard at the detention center.
Monroe alleges that on or about November 12, 2013, while incarcerated at the Ravalli County Detention Center, Russell used excessive physical force causing injury to Monroe. Monroe commenced this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking compensatory damages from Russell for violating Monroe's due process rights protected under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
On May 15, 2014, the Court entered a Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b) scheduling order establishing pretrial deadlines. The deadline for the completion of discovery was October 15, 2014, and the deadline for motions was November 17, 2014.
On June 23, 2014, Russell served discovery requests -- including interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admission -- upon Monroe. But Monroe did not respond to the requests. Therefore, on August 29, 2014, Russell moved for an order under Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a) compelling Monroe to respond to the discovery requests. Monroe did not file a brief in response to the motion.
On October 10, 2014, the Court granted Russell's motion to compel, and required Monroe to provide his responses to Russell's discovery requests by October 24, 2014. The order expressly cautioned Monroe that if he failed to provide responses to the discovery requests as directed, the undersigned might recommend to the presiding district judge that the action be dismissed. Contrary to the directive of the October 10, 2014 order, Monroe did not provide discovery responses to Russell.
On November 10, 2014, Russell filed the present Motion for Sanctions pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A) requesting that this action be dismissed with prejudice. In support of the motion counsel for Russell represents that pursuant to L.R. 7.1(c)(1), she contacted Monroe regarding his position on the motion and was advised by Monroe that he does not object to the motion or oppose dismissal of this action. As of the date of these Findings and Recommendation, Monroe has not filed a brief in response to Russell's motion for sanctions. Pursuant to L.R. (d)(1)(B)(ii), Monroe's failure to file a response brief is deemed an admission by Monroe that Russell's motion for dismissal is well-taken.
As noted, Monroe failed to comply with the Court's October 10, 2014 order compelling him to provide discovery responses. Therefore, Monroe is subject to sanctions as provided under Rule 37(b).
If a party " fails to obey an order to provide or permit discovery, [...] the court [...] may issue further just orders." Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A). Included among the available sanctions are orders " dismissing the action or proceeding in whole or in part[.]" Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A)(v). The district court has discretion in its imposition of discovery sanctions. Insurance Corp. of Ireland, Ltd., v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 707 (1982). Case-dispositive or terminating sanctions generally are available only in limited circumstances. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. v. ...