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Lewis v. Hawkins

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

September 28, 2017

PAUL WILLIAM LEWIS, Plaintiff,
v.
KEITH HAWKINS, et al., Defendants. Deposition Testimony Change Reason

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

         This case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the Rules of this Court, and Standing Order 13-02.

         Now before the Court are the following Motions:

(1) Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Serve Additional Interrogatories Upon Defendant Keith Hawkins and for Order Requesting Defendant to Produce All Documents Requested by the Plaintiff [Doc. 64];
(2) Defendants' Motion to Strike Errata Sheet Changes and Incorporated Memorandum of Law [Doc. 67]; and
(3) Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Sur-Reply to Defendants' Motion to Strike Errata Sheet Changes and Incorporated Memorandum of Law; Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, and Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Serve Additional Interrogatories Upon Defendant Keith Hawkins [Doc. 69].

         Accordingly, for the reasons more fully explained below, the Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Serve Additional Interrogatories [Doc. 64] is DENIED, the Defendants' Motion to Strike [Doc. 67] is GRANTED, and the Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Sur-Reply is GRANTED IN PART [Doc. 69].

         I. POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

         A. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave

         The Plaintiff requests [Doc. 64] leave of Court to serve additional interrogatories to Defendant Hawkins. In addition, the Plaintiff requests that the Court order the Defendants to produce all documents requested by the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff states that he served the Defendants with discovery on or about March 13, 2017, and that Defendant Hawkins successfully answered twelve questions out of the fifteen questions that were propounded. The Plaintiff continues that with respect to his document requests, the Defendants stated that the documents were attached but no attachments were actually included. The Plaintiff continues that he sent twenty-one interrogatories to Defendant Hawkins on or about May 19, 2017, and Defendant Hawkins answered, “I cannot recall, ” to three interrogatories (Nos. 6, 7, and 8) and that the Defendants objected to Nos. 9 through 22. The Plaintiff states that he has not had an opportunity to obtain such information and that he is unable to prepare for his case.

         The Defendants respond that they have produced all documents to the Plaintiff and that the Plaintiff has failed to show why the additional interrogatories are necessary for the prosecution of this case. The Defendants state that Defendant Hawkins has completely and accurately responded to the Plaintiff's first set of interrogatories. With respect to document production, the Defendants state that they attached the requested documents as Exhibit B and that the documents in Exhibit B are the same documents that were produced by Defendant Hawkins on April 21, 2017, in response to the Plaintiff's first request of documents. In addition, the Defendants state that most of the documents were already attached to the Defendants' initial disclosures. The Defendants state that their production actually exceeded the scope of the documents requested by the Plaintiff because the Defendants provided documents relating to the Plaintiff's prior arrests, which the Defendants are not using at trial and which were not requested by the Plaintiff.

         Further, the Defendants explain that Defendant Hawkins responded, “I cannot recall, ” to interrogatories Nos. 6, 7, and 8 because the interrogatories sought extremely detailed information involving specific times and conversations that occurred immediately before and during a traffic stop that occurred in 2015. The Defendants argue that they have produced all documentation on file relating to the traffic stop at issue and that they have answered all discovery requests to the best of their knowledge and ability. In addition, the Defendants state that they objected to interrogatories 9 through 22 because Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33 limits Plaintiff to twenty-five interrogatories without leave of Court. The Defendants continue that this is the third discovery motion filed by the Plaintiff and that the Plaintiff did not contact defense counsel prior to seeking relief from the Court and that the Plaintiff failed to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 and section 3(j) of the Scheduling Order in this case.

         The Plaintiff filed a reply [Doc. 70][1] stating that the Defendants have produced all documents requested and that he has now successfully compelled the Defendants to produce the documents. The Plaintiff argues that Defendant Hawkins's response to interrogatories 6, 7, and 8 (i.e., that Defendant Hawkins cannot recall certain details) is unreasonable. The Plaintiff states that he has requested leave of Court to propound additional discovery because the Defendants' responses to said discovery will go to the credibility of witnesses and help the Plaintiff impeach them at trial. The Plaintiff further explains that he has not contacted defense counsel prior to filing his Motion because the Plaintiff should not have to compel the Defendants to act when the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require such actions by the Defendants. With respect to the Plaintiff's request for additional interrogatories, the Plaintiff states that there are still unanswered questions in this case, such as why Defendant Hawkins waited six miles before initiating the stop. The Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Hawkins has given conflicting statements as to why he pulled the Plaintiff over and that the information will go to the credibility of the witness.

         B. Defendants' Motion to Strike Errata Sheet

         The Defendants request that the Court strike the errata sheet changes submitted by the Plaintiff in regard to his April 21, 2017 deposition. The Defendants argue that the Plaintiff's changes violate the procedural and substantive requirements of Rule 30(e). The Defendants state that in making the changes, the Plaintiff failed to adhere to the requirement in Rule 30(e)(1)(B), which requires the Plaintiff to sufficiently state the reasons for the proposed changes. Further, the Defendants assert that Rule 30(e) allows revisions of reporting errors but does not allow deponents to revise their testimony post depositions.

         In response, the Plaintiff states [Doc. 71] that there is nothing in Rule 30(e) that prohibits him from making changes in form or substance and to sign a statement listing the changes and the reasons for such changes. The Plaintiff argues that his pleadings are not held to the same standard as those drafted by attorneys. The Plaintiff contends that his deposition testimony was misconstrued by the Defendants and that defense counsel has made an attempt to undermine the entire purpose of the deposition. Further, the Plaintiff argues [Doc. 73][2] that his intentions during the deposition were to demonstrate that any vehicle “if traveling 55 miles per hour after coming up a steep uphill grade would be traveling 42 miles per hour on a steep downhill grade ten seconda after starting to brake at the 35 mile per hour speed limit sign at the top of the uphill/downhill grade.” [Doc. 73 at 1-2]. The Plaintiff states that he has two eyewitnesses that will testify that he was traveling 45 miles per hour from the state line. The Plaintiff continues that the real issue is not the rate of speed at which he was proceeding but why Defendant Hawkins waited for the Plaintiff to commit a traffic violation when Defendant Hawkins knew there was a warrant out for the Plaintiff's arrest. In addition, the Plaintiff questions Defendant Hawkins's reasons for making the Plaintiff exit the vehicle and stand on a busy highway when Defendant Hawkins was aware of the Plaintiff's physical handicap.

         II. ...


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