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Rummer v. State

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

June 3, 2013

Werner Wolfgang Rümmer, Plaintiff,
v.
State of North Dakota, et. al., Defendants.

ORDER

CHARLES S. MILLER, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff has three motions now pending before the court: (1) a Motion for Jury Trial; (2) a Motion to Exceed 25 Interrogatories for Defendant Dr. John Hagan to 50 Interrogatories; and (3) a "Motion and to Waive Costs for Discovery Documents." For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's first and third motions are granted and his second motion is granted in part.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is an inmate at the North Dakota State Penitentiary. He initiated the above-entitled pro se action in February 2012. His complaint contains eight claims that survived the court's initial screening-his claims for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs (Claim Nos. 4, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, and 30) and retaliation (Claim No. 16) against Defendants Robyn Schmalenberger, Kathy Bachmeier, Jessica Wilkin, and Dr. John Hagan.

On March 19, 2013, the court issued a scheduling and discovery order that, amongst other things, capped the number interrogatories each party could serve at twenty-five. It also scheduled a four-day bench trial to commence on June 30, 2013.

On March 28, 2013, plaintiff filed a Motion for a Jury Trial. On May 17, 2013, he filed Motions to Exceed 25 Interrogatories and to Waive Costs for Discovery Documents. All three motions are now ripe for the court's consideration

II. DISCUSSION

A. Motion for Jury Trial

Plaintiff requests that the court cancel the bench trial and reschedule this case for a trial by jury. In so doing he advises the court that he will require between twenty-one and thirty days to present his case. As defendants have not objected or otherwise responded to plaintiff's request, the court is inclined to renotice this matter for a jury trial. It is neither required nor inclined to reserve 21 to 30 days for trial, however.

B. Motion to Exceed 25 Interrogatories for Defendant Dr. John Hagan to 50 Interrogatories

Plaintiff next requests leave to serve 50 additional interrogatories on Defendant Dr. John Hagan. In response, defendants acknowledge that Dr. Hagan is the primary defendant in this case. They also recognize that plaintiff is proceeding pro se and that his custodial status makes it difficult for him to depose Dr. Hagan. They nevertheless oppose plaintiff's request on the grounds that it would be unduly burdensome to require Dr. Hagan to answer 50 more interrogatories. As a compromise, they suggest that plaintiff be permitted to serve 25 additional interrogatories on Dr. Hagan in lieu of taking his deposition.

According to defendants, they have already been served with 22 interrogatories, several of which were directed to Dr. Hagan, and 27 requests for production of documents. Under these circumstances, the service of 25 as opposed to 50 additional interrogatories on Dr. Hagan should be more than sufficient to address plaintiff's discovery concerns. Consequently, the court is inclined to heed defendants suggestion and allow plaintiff to serve 25 additional interrogatories, including subparts, on Dr. Hagan. The court shall next address plaintiff's motion regarding discovery costs.

C. Motion to Waive Costs for Discovery Documents

When responding to plaintiff's initial interrogatories and document requests, defendants advised plaintiff they would not reproduce documents for him free of charge and requested $53.20 in payment for the 226 copies they had provided him.[1] They further advised that they would not provide plaintiff ...


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