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Jenkins v. Miller

United States District Court, D. Vermont

January 7, 2020

JANET JENKINS
v.
KENNETH L. MILLER ET. AL., Defendants.

         OPINION AND ORDER: PLAINTIFFS' MOTIONS TO AMEND THE DISCOVERY SCHEDULE AS TO DEADLINES FOR INTERROGATORIES / REQUESTS TO PRODUCE (ECF 431), PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO AMEND THE DISCOVERY SCHEDULE AS TO THE NUMBER OF DEPOSITIONS PLAINTIFFS ARE PERMITTED (ECF 432), AND DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STAY DISCOVERY DEADLINES (ECF 440)

          WILLIAM K. SESSIONS III DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Janet Jenkins, for herself and as next friend of her daughter Isabella Miller-Jenkins, has brought suit against several individuals and organizations, alleging that they kidnapped and conspired to kidnap Isabella. Plaintiffs assert claims of commission of, and conspiracy to, commit an intentional tort of kidnapping and conspiracy to violate civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3).

         Plaintiffs have filed a motion to amend the discovery schedule as to deadlines for interrogatories and requests to produce (ECF 431) in order to correct a typographic error in the Court's Final Discovery Schedule/Order (ECF 425). ECF 431. Plaintiffs have also filed a motion to amend the Final Discovery Schedule/Order as to the number of depositions they are permitted. ECF 432. Finally, Defendants have filed a motion to stay the court's discovery deadlines pending this Court's decision as to Gravel & Shea PC's motion to withdraw as counsel. ECF 435, 449.

         For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion to clarify the discovery schedule as to deadlines for interrogatories and requests to produce (ECF 431) is granted, and Plaintiffs' motion to amend the discovery schedule as to the number of depositions they are permitted ECF 432) is granted.

         In light of this Court's decision to grant Gravel & Shea PC's motion to withdraw as counsel, giving Defendants 30 days from the date of that order to obtain new counsel, the Court orders Plaintiffs and Defendants to submit one modified proposed discovery schedule within 60 days of this Order (by February 6, 2020), which should reflect any proposed changes to the schedule that they deem necessary and agree upon after conferral. As such, Defendants' expedited motion to stay discovery deadlines pending a decision (ECF 440) is denied as moot.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Plaintiffs' motion to clarify the discovery schedule as to deadlines for interrogatories and requests to produce (ECF 431) is granted.

         First, Plaintiffs have filed a motion to amend the discovery schedule as to deadlines for interrogatories and requests to produce (ECF 431) in order to correct a typographic error in the Court's Final Discovery Schedule/Order (ECF 425). In paragraph 1 of the November 25 Discovery Schedule/Order, the Court made a typographic error in stating that the deadline to serve all interrogatories and requests for production was “January 20, 2019” instead of “January 20, 2020”, which is the correct deadline. Hence, the Court grants Plaintiffs' motion to amend the Court's Discovery Schedule/Order (ECF 425) to reflect a corrected deadline of January 20, 2020 to serve all interrogatories and requests for production.

         II. Plaintiffs' motion to amend the discovery schedule as to the number of depositions they are permitted (ECF 432) is granted.

         Plaintiffs have also filed a motion to amend the Final Discovery Schedule/Order as to the number of depositions they are permitted. ECF 432. In their motion, Plaintiffs cite an outstanding disagreement between the parties as to whether they are permitted to conduct depositions of each Defendant as well as ten nonparty individuals, or whether they are only permitted a sum total of ten depositions. ECF 432 1-3.

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 30(a)(2)(A)(i), “a party must obtain leave of court, and the court must grant leave to the extent consistent with Rule 26(b)(1) and (2), if the parties have not stipulated to the deposition and . . . the deposition would result in more than 10 depositions being taken” by the plaintiffs or defendants. Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 30(a)(2)(A)(i). According to Rule 26(b)(1) and (2), parties may obtain discovery of non-privileged matters relevant to any party's claim or defense so long as they are proportional to the needs of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).

         Plaintiffs have successfully shown that an additional ten nonparty depositions would serve the evidentiary needs of the case. As they argue, this is a complex case involving allegations of a broad conspiracy involving many individuals. ECF 432 at 5. The ten nonparty depositions that Plaintiffs have outlined in their motion are all relevant to central claims in this litigation. ECF 432 at 5-6. Moreover, Plaintiffs are limiting their request for additional depositions to ten nonparty individuals, which is a reasonably contained quantity proportional to the needs of this case. As such, Plaintiffs' motion is granted.

         III. Plaintiffs and Defendants are ordered to submit a single modified proposed discovery schedule to the ...


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