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United States v. Town of Colorado City

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 11, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
TOWN OF COLORADO CITY, ARIZONA; CITY OF HILDALE, UTAH; TWIN CITY POWER; and TWIN CITY WATER AUTHORITY, INC., Defendants.

ORDER

H. RUSSEL HOLLAND, District Judge.

Motion to Compel

Plaintiff moves to compel the Town of Colorado City to respond to plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories and First Set of Requests for Production.[1] This motion is opposed.[2] Oral argument was not requested and is not deemed necessary.

Background

On June 21, 2012, plaintiff, the United States of America, commenced this action against defendants The Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc. Plaintiff alleges that "[d]efendants have engaged in a pattern or practice of illegal discrimination against individuals who are not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("FLDS")."[3] Plaintiff alleges that defendants "have acted in concert with FLDS leadership to deny non-FLDS individuals housing, police protection, and access to public space and services."[4] Plaintiff further alleges that the municipalities' joint police department, the Colorado City Marshal's Office (CCMO), "has inappropriately used its state-granted enforcement authority to enforce the edits of the FLDS, to the detriment of non-FLDS members."[5]

On April 23, 2013, plaintiff served Colorado City with its First Set of Interrogatories and its First Set of Requests for Production. Colorado City responded to the First Set of Requests for Production on June 28, 2013 and has supplemented its responses on August 14, 2013; September 10, 2013; January 15, 2014; April 1, 2014; and June 16, 2014. Colorado City responded to the First Set of Interrogatories on July 11, 2013. Plaintiff contends that Colorado City has failed to respond to some of the foregoing discovery requests and has failed to respond adequately to others.

Plaintiff attempted to resolve these discovery disputes with Colorado City but those attempts failed and thus plaintiff filed the instant motion to compel.[6]

Discussion

Rules 33 and 34, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, permit each party to serve the opposing party with document requests and interrogatories within the scope of Rule 26(b). The scope of discovery under Rule 26(b) is broad. "Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b). Rule 33 requires that "[e]ach interrogatory..., to the extent it is not objected to, be answered separately and fully in writing under oath." Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(3). When responding to Rule 34 requests, the opposing party "must either state that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested or state an objection to the request, including the reasons." Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(B). The opposing party generally has thirty days in which to respond to requests for production and interrogatories. Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(2) & 34(b)(2)(A). If the opposing party fails to respond, Rule 37(a)(3)(B) provides, in pertinent part, that the "party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling an answer [or] production[.]" Rule 37(a)(4) provides that "an evasive or incomplete disclosure, answer, or response must be treated as a failure to disclose, answer, or respond."

Plaintiff argues that Colorado City has failed to provide any documents in response to Requests for Production Nos. 8, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 33, 34, 35, 40, 41, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 52, 53 & 56 and Interrogatory No. 1. Plaintiff also argues that Colorado City has given evasive or incomplete answers to Interrogatories Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10 & 12 and Request for Production No. 1. And, finally, plaintiff argues that Colorado City's assertion of privilege in connection with Requests for Production Nos. 11, 12, 28 & 45 and Interrogatory No. 5 is inadequate because Colorado City has not produced a privilege log.

Interrogatories Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5 & 12 and Requests for Production Nos. 12, 21, 22, 35, 40, 41, 46, 47, 48, 53 & 56. Colorado City contends that it is working on supplementing its responses to these discovery requests. Colorado City requests that it be given thirty days in which to complete this work.

Colorado City's request is granted in part. Colorado City has twenty-one days from the date of this order in which to supplement its responses to Interrogatories Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5 & 12 and Requests for Production Nos. 12, 21, 22, 35, 40, 41, 46, 47, 48, 53 & 56. To the extent that Colorado City is claiming privilege as to any of these (or any other) discovery requests, Colorado City shall file a privilege log at the same time it serves it supplemental responses. Failure to file a privilege log by this date will result in a waiver of privilege. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 408 F.3d 1142, 1149 (9th Cir. 2005).

Interrogatory No. 6. In this interrogatory, plaintiff asked Colorado City to

[d]escribe with specificity the CCMO's process for hiring and promoting officers. Your answer should describe with specificity the following: (a) any steps taken by the CCMO to recruit new officers, (b) the selection process for hiring CCMO officers, including identifying the persons responsible for making the hiring decision and the criteria they consider in deciding whom to hire, (c) the process for promoting CCMO officers, including identifying the persons responsible for making promotions and the criteria they consider in deciding whom to promote; (d) any training ...

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