United States District Court, D. Nebraska
Michael D. Nelson United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on the Motion to Compel Discovery
Responses (Filing No. 30) filed by Defendants.
Defendants request an order compelling the pro se Plaintiff,
Leonard Yankton, to fully respond to written discovery,
specifically Interrogatory Nos. 3 and 5, Request for
Production No. 8, and Requests for Admissions. (Filing
claims in this action arise out his allegations that on
August 23, 2017, Lincoln Police Officers Gregory Cody and
Aaron Peth (collectively, “Defendants”) entered
his home without permission when responding to a domestic
dispute call. (Filing No. 5). Plaintiff alleges
Defendants handcuffed him too tightly, “used force that
was not objectively reasonable under the circumstances,
interrogated him with no Miranda warning, . . .
entered his residence without a warrant, engaged in
aggressive intimidation interrogation tactics, abused
authority, treated a white person at the scene differently
than the Native Americans present, imprisoned him under a
false charge of interfering with an investigation, and
instituted legal proceedings against him with malice.”
(Filing No. 14 at p. 2). The Court determined that
Plaintiff pled sufficient facts to proceed with claims
against Defendants for illegal seizure, excessive force,
wrongful arrest, and racial discrimination. (Filing No.
14 at p. 8).
served discovery requests on Plaintiff on December 6, 2018.
Plaintiff responded on January 7, 2019. Defendants
subsequently communicated with Plaintiff by email regarding
deficiencies in Plaintiff's responses and ultimately
filed this motion to compel on January 29, 2019. (Filing
No. 31-1). Defendants request that Plaintiff answer to
“Interrogatory No. 3 regarding injuries and medical
conditions, Interrogatory No. 5 regarding accounting of all
economic damages, losses, expenses or other costs, Request
for Production No. 8 regarding income tax returns and W-2s
for the past five years, and Requests for Admissions.”
(Filing No. 30).
may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that
is relevant to any party's claim or defense and
proportional to the needs of the case[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). The Court finds that Defendants' discovery
requests are plainly relevant and not unduly burdensome.
Plaintiff alleges he was physically, emotionally, and
economically injured by Defendants' actions on August 23,
2017, and Defendants' requests seek information relevant
to those allegations. Defendants' Requests for Admissions
(Filing No. 31-1 at pp. 4-6) request Defendant to
admit or deny certain facts related to the August 23, 2017,
incident at issue in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff invokes his pro se status in his brief in response
(Filing No. 32), “[P]ro se litigants are not
excused from failing to comply with substantive and
procedural law.” Burgs v. Sissel, 745 F.2d
526, 528 (8th Cir. 1984)(citing Faretta v.
California, 422 U.S. 806, 834-35 n. 46 (1975).
“[P]arties who proceed pro se are bound by and must
comply with all local and federal procedural rules.”
NEGenR 1.3(g). All parties “have an affirmative duty to
respond to discovery requests and make reasonable, diligent
efforts to produce truthful, discoverable information.”
Marquette Bus. Credit, Inc. v. Gleason, No.
14-CV-354 (MJD/LIB), 2015 WL 12776599, at *3 (D. Minn. Jan.
30, 2015); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 26, 33(b)(1)(A),
& 34(b)(2). “A pro se litigant is bound by the
litigation rules as is a lawyer, particularly here with the
fulfilling of simple requirements of discovery.”
Lindstedt v. City of Granby, 238 F.3d 933, 937 (8th
Cir. 2000). “Sanctions may be imposed upon a pro se
litigant for failure to cooperate in discovery.”
Tyler v. Iowa State Trooper Badge No. 297, 158
F.R.D. 632, 635 (N.D. Iowa 1994)(citing Anderson v. Home
Ins. Co., 724 F.2d 82, 84 (8th Cir. 1983)).
Defendants' discovery requests are relevant and
proportional to the needs of the case, and the Court finds
that Plaintiff should be compelled to supplement his
responses and fully respond to the outstanding requests.
brief in opposition to the instant motion indicates that he
believes Defendants did not produce certain requested
documents responsive to Plaintiff's requests. (Filing
No. 32 at p. 3). To the extent Plaintiff seeks that the
court compel Defendants to provide documents, such request
must have been made by a motion supported by a brief and
evidence in accordance with this district's local rules
and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See NECivR 7.1(i);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 34. Therefore, the Court will disregard
Plaintiff's request for documents contained within his
brief opposing Defendants' motion. Moreover, the deadline
for filing motions to compel has passed. See Filing No.
20. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED:
Defendants' Motion to Compel Discovery Responses
(Filing No. 30) is granted.
or before March 13, 2019, Plaintiff shall
provide Defendants with complete answers to Defendants'
Interrogatory No. 3, Interrogatory No. 5, responses to
Requests for Admissions, and provide documents responsive to
Request for Production No. 8.
Plaintiff's failure to comply with this Court's order
may result in sanctions entered against Plaintiff upon
appropriate motion by Defendants, ...