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Myrdal v. District of Columbia

June 7, 2007

MARILYN SEABROOKS MYRDAL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court on defendant District of Columbia's Motion [42] for Extension of Time to Respond to Discovery, defendant Paula Senior Fisher's Motions [43], [44] for Extension of Time to Respond to Discovery, plaintiff's Motion [45] for Limited Extension of plaintiff's Time to Complete Discovery, and defendant District of Columbia's Motion [46] to Enlarge the Time to Complete Discovery. Also before the Court are plaintiff's Motion [47] to Compel defendant Hawk One to Produce Initial Disclosures, plaintiff's Motion [48] to Compel defendant Hawk One to Answer plaintiff's First Request for the Production of Documents, plaintiff's Motion [49] to Compel defendant Hawk One to Answer plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories, and defendant Hawk One's Motion [52] to File Out of Time in Opposition to plaintiff's Motion to Compel defendant Hawk One's Response to plaintiff's First Request for Document Production.

II. DISCUSSION

1. Motions for Extension of Time to Respond to Plaintiff's Discovery

Requests On December 21, 2006, plaintiff served her First Request for the Production of Documents and her First Set of Interrogatories to the defendants. (Pl.'s Mot. for Limited Extension of Disc.) Defendants' responses were due on January 25, 2007. (Df. Fisher's Mot. for Extension of Time to Respond to Disc.)

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(b)(1), on January 22, 2007, defendant District of Columbia filed a motion [42] to enlarge the time to respond to plaintiff's written discovery for an additional twenty days. Defendant Senior Fisher filed her motion [43] to enlarge the time to respond by an additional thirty days on January 24, 2007. "[T]he Court for cause shown may at any time in its discretion (1) with or without motion or notice order the period enlarged if request therefore is made before the expiration of the period originally prescribed or as extended by previous order." Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b)(1). Both parties filed their motions before the end of the original period and showed cause as a result of the intervening holidays and the press of other business. Therefore, the Court finds that the motions [42], [43] for extension of time are GRANTED nunc pro tunc.

Furthermore, defendant Senior Fisher filed a motion [44] to further enlarge the time to respond to plaintiff's discovery requests by five additional workdays. Defendant Senior Fisher's motion was filed within the time prescribed by her first extension request and she has shown cause to finalize her responses to plaintiff's requests. Accordingly, the Court finds that defendant Senior Fisher's motion [43] to further enlarge the time to respond to plaintiff's discovery requests is GRANTED nunc pro tunc.

2. Motions for the Extension of the Discovery Period

On March 12, 2007, after the close of discovery, plaintiff filed her motion [45] requesting the Court to extend the period of discovery by an additional forty-five days to apply only to the plaintiff. On March 13, 2007, defendant District of Columbia filed a motion [46] to enlarge the time of discovery for all parties in the litigation by an additional sixty days. For the following reasons the Court finds that plaintiff's motion [45] is DENIED and that defendant District of Columbia's motion [46] is GRANTED.

Rule 16(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 16.4(a) both provide that the discovery deadlines of a scheduling order may be modified "upon a showing of good cause." Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b); LCvR 16.4(a). Plaintiff argues that she is the only party exhibiting good cause to warrant an extension of discovery for three reasons: defendant Hawk One had not answered any of plaintiff's written discovery requests; defendant Senior Fisher responded late to plaintiff's discovery requests; and defendant District of Columbia submitted responses signed by a paralegal. (See Pl's Mot. for Limited Extension of Discovery, ¶ 8.) Therefore plaintiff contends that she should be the only beneficiary of an extended discovery period.

The Court, however, disagrees. First, plaintiff received defendant Hawk One's answers to her discovery requests on March 26, 2007. Therefore plaintiff is no longer waiting for responses to her discovery requests. Second, because this Court granted defendant Senior Fisher's motions to extend time [43], [44], the delivery of her answers on March 12, 2007 was within the period allowed by the Court. Finally, defendant District of Columbia's responses were in compliance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 33(a) provides that interrogatories are "to be answered by the party served or if the party served is a . . . governmental agency, by any officer or agent, who shall furnish such information as is available to the party." Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a). Defendant District of Columbia designated the paralegal to answer the interrogatories as a representative of the District of Columbia in compliance with Rule 33. ( Pl.'s Mot. for Limited Extension of Disc., Ex. "A"); See also Fonville v. Dist. of Columbia, 230 F.R.D. 38, 45 (D.D.C. 2005) ("Interrogatories are served on parties, and defendant's answers must be signed by the party upon whom they were served-i.e. a representative of the District of Columbia who attests to their truth on behalf of the District of Columbia.").

Therefore, an extension of the discovery period should not apply only to the plaintiff. Rather, an extended discovery period should apply to all parties because defendant District of Columbia showed cause that all parties will need more time to complete discovery and file any dispositive motions. Accordingly, the Court DENIES plaintiff's Motion [45] for Limited Extension of plaintiff's Discovery Period and GRANTS defendant ...


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