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Goodman v. Clark

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

October 29, 2014

ROY GOODMAN, JR., ROY GOODMAN III, RENEE GOODMAN, RENIECE GOODMAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
ADAM CLARK, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES T. MOODY, District Judge.

Plaintiffs Roy Goodman Jr., Roy Goodman III, Renee Goodman, and Reniece Goodman ("plaintiffs") have appealed a decision by Magistrate Judge Andrew Rodovich (DE # 294) denying their motion for an extension of time in which to complete discovery. (DE # 297.) Both the Federal Defendants[1] (DE # 298) and the Hammond Defendants[2] (DE # 303) have filed a response to that appeal, and plaintiffs have filed replies to both of the response briefs (DE # 304; DE # 315).[3] For the following reasons, the court affirms Magistrate Judge Rodovich's decision.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

The following facts, which plaintiffs have not disputed, are taken from Magistrate Judge Rodovich's order on plaintiffs' motion for a discovery extension:

This matter arises out of a search and seizure that federal agents and members of the Hammond Police Department conducted on the plaintiffs' home on December 28, 2007. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants used excessive force by employing sound grenades and smoke bombs prior to entering their home to execute a search warrant and by shoving, grabbing, and using restraints on the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs further allege that the defendants arrested them despite the fact that they had not violated any law. The plaintiffs also complain that the Hammond officers, Calumet City officers, and federal agents conspired to cause damage to the plaintiffs by agreeing falsely to arrest them, agreeing falsely to institute criminal proceedings against Roy Goodman, Jr., agreeing not to report each other after witnessing or using excessive force, agreeing not to report each other after falsely arresting or charging the plaintiffs, and generating false documentation to cover up their own and each others' misconduct.
* * *
Following the district court's ruling [on a motion to dismiss], the federal defendants asked the court to limit the scope of discovery that may be served upon them to that related to the excessive force claims regarding the flash bang device. The court denied the federal defendants' motion, explaining that discovery extends to the pursuit of information that may be relevant to "any party's claim or defense."
* * *
On June 4, 2013, and August 9, 2013, some of the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. On August 23, 2013, the district court set a briefing schedule for dispositive motions. The order stated that the plaintiffs were to respond to all pending motions by October 11, 2013, and that the defendants were to reply by October 31, 2013. On October 11, 2013, the plaintiffs filed a response. However, the plaintiffs did not respond to the substantive arguments in the defendants' motion and instead asked for additional time to conduct discovery under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d). The plaintiffs made no effort to conduct depositions prior to making this request, explaining that they were awaiting the federal defendants' response to several discovery requests so that they could identify the individual defendants' involvement in the incident. The plaintiffs did not file a separate motion seeking such relief.
On February 27, 2014, the plaintiffs filed a motion for an extension of time to complete discovery so that they could conduct depositions of the all of [sic] the defendants. The federal defendants objected because they provided initial disclosures that included the FBI reports that summarized the investigative activity related to the shooting and robbery. The report stated the name of every officer and agent involved in the investigation. It is the defendants' position that the plaintiffs had sufficient information to identify which agents were involved and to proceed with the depositions, and that their failure to do so does not warrant further delay with respect to the pending motions for summary judgment.

(DE # 294 at 2-4.)

Plaintiffs' based their request for additional time in which to complete discovery on three primary justifications. First, plaintiffs argued that the defendants' attorneys had attempted to conceal the identities of the officers or agents that threw concussion grenades into plaintiffs' home and physically abused plaintiffs. (DE # 272 at 1.) Second, plaintiffs argued that additional discovery had recently come to light that warranted a discovery extension so that plaintiffs could depose several defendants. ( Id. at 2-4.) The evidence consisted of photographs ("the incident photographs") taken at the plaintiffs' home shortly after the search warrant was executed. ( Id. at 2.) Plaintiffs received the incident photographs in a miniaturized format on the day discovery was set to close. (DE # 297 at 4.) Plaintiffs received the photographs in their full size in April of 2014. ( Id. ) Plaintiffs argued that the incident photographs revealed the identities of the defendants directly involved in injuring plaintiffs. (DE # 272 at 2.)

Finally, plaintiffs argued that their ability to timely complete discovery was prevented by two personal crises suffered by plaintiffs' counsel. ( Id. at 2-3.) First, in June 2013, plaintiffs' counsel's wife attempted suicide, and plaintiffs' counsel was required to care for his two young children by himself. ( Id. ) Second, plaintiffs' counsel's father was diagnosed with cancer in August 2013. ( Id. ) In addition to these very serious personal matters, in October 2013, plaintiffs' counsel had two trials for which he had to prepare. (DE # 297 at 3.)

This case has been proceeding in this court since 2009, and the first discovery deadline was September 6, 2013, as set by agreement of the parties. (DE # 180.) Magistrate Judge Rodovich eventually extended the discovery deadline to February 28, 2014, after learning of plaintiffs' counsel's personal issues. (DE # 234; DE # 297 at 3.) On February 27, 2014, the day before discovery was set to close, plaintiffs moved for an extension of time in which to complete discovery. (DE # 272.) At the time that plaintiffs filed their February 2014 motion to extend discovery, there were two summary judgment motions pending. In responding to one of those motions, plaintiffs requested additional time to pursue discovery under FED. R. CIV. P. 56(d). (DE # 236.) Because plaintiffs requested additional time in which to respond to one of the pending motions for summary judgment under FED. R. CIV. P. 56(d), Magistrate Judge Rodovich treated plaintiffs' motion for additional discovery filed in February 2014 as a ...


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