United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on a flurry of motions filed by
pro se Plaintiff Thomas Ostrowski: a “Motion
to Comp[el] Under Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Pr[o]cedure and N.D. Ind. L.R. 37-1” [DE 68], filed
on September 20, 2016; a “Motion for Protective Order
Under Rule 26” [DE 73], filed on September 27, 2016;
three “Motion[s] to Compel Under Rule 33 and 37”
[DE 75, 76, 77], filed on September 28, 2016; and a
“Motion to Produce Documen[t]s Under Rule 34
FRCP” [DE 78], filed on September 28, 2016.
The September 20 Motion to Compel
September 20 motion to compel, Plaintiff asks the Court to
order Defendants to respond to Plaintiff's
interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for
Plaintiff's interrogatories and requests for
8, 2016, Plaintiff served interrogatories on Defendants Jack
Allendorf and Brian Hitchcock [DE 30, 31]. Allendorf and
Hitchcock responded on September 27 [DE 72].
21, 2016, Plaintiff purported to serve interrogatories to
non-parties Michael Repay and Gerry Scheub [DE 40, 41].
Scheub responded on September 27 [DE 72]. Repay responded on
September 30 [DE 82].
21, 2016, Plaintiff filed requests for admission on
Defendants [DE 42]. Defendant Lake County Council responded
on August 30 [DE 63]. The other four defendants responded on
September 23, 2016 [DE 70].
Defendants have responded to Plaintiff's interrogatories
and requests for admission, the Court will deny
Plaintiff's September 20 motion to compel as moot with
respect to the interrogatories and requests for admissions.
complains that, even though Defendants responded, they did
not respond by their September 19 deadline. And indeed,
Defendants did not finish responding until September 30 even
though Plaintiff denied Defendants' request on September
19 to have an extension to September 30 to respond. But the
Court finds that delay was substantially justified and was
not made in bad faith or for the purpose of delay: the delay
was short, and Defendants' lawyer represents that he
asked for the short extension “to allow sufficient time
to provide a thorough and complete response.” This is
not a situation where an intransigent party refused to
provide discovery and acted only after being served with a
motion to compel. Rather, Defendants asked Plaintiff for a
short extension before the time to respond had expired, and
Defendants met their requested deadline. So even though
Defendants responded to Plaintiff's discovery requests
only after Plaintiff filed the September 20 motion to compel,
the Court will not award any fees to Plaintiff. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A)(ii).
Plaintiff's requests for document production
August 17, 2016, Plaintiff served requests for document
production on four of the five Defendants [DE 61]. Defendants
have not filed their responses with the Court as required by
Northern District of Indiana Local Rule 26-2(a)(2)(A)
(“All discovery material in cases involving a pro se
party must be filed.”). But this is likely due to the
privacy concerns discussed in Section II, below. Indeed, the
correspondence filed at ¶ 74-1 suggests that Defendants
have already provided their document production to Plaintiff.
So the Court will also deny the September 20 motion to compel
as moot with respect to Plaintiff's document production
requests. And although it appears the production came only
after Plaintiff filed the September 20 motion to compel, the
Court finds that Defendant's delay in responding was
substantially justified for the reasons discussed in Section
I.A above and in Section II below, so the Court will not
award any fees. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A)(ii).
The Motion for Protective Order
motion for a protective order, Plaintiff asks the Court to
order Defendants to seal and hand-deliver to the Court any
discovery documents from Plaintiff's personnel file and
then to conduct a hearing “so that all the parties may
state to the Court which records they believe should be
entered . . . into the record.” Plaintiff expresses
concern that his HIPAA rights or other privacy rights may be
violated if Defendants file documents from his personnel file
electronically in response to Plaintiff's ...