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Peet v. Smith

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

September 18, 2019

John E. Peet, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Michele K. Smith, et al., Defendants.

          John E. Peet, (pro se Plaintiff)

          Jana O’Leary Sullivan, (for Defendants Debbie Goettel & Michelle Luna)

          Kari M. Dahlin & Eugene C. Shermoen, Jr. Arthur, Chapman, Kettering, Smetak & Pikala, P.A., (for Defendants Mark Jones & Sue Morfitt).

          ORDER

          TONY N. LEUNG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court, United States Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung, on Plaintiff John E. Peet’s motion to compel (ECF No. 103), motion regarding witness tampering and fraudulent documents (ECF No. 104), and The New Orleans Court Defendants’ Motion for Limited Purpose Extension of Fact Discovery Deadline. (ECF No. 120). For the reasons set for the below, the Court will deny the motion to compel and the motion regarding witness tampering and fraudulent documents. The Court will grant the motion for a limited extension of the fact discovery deadline.

         I. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff John E. Peet has filed a lawsuit alleging that Defendants violated federal law prohibiting housing discrimination. Peet contends that he was harassed and the subject of an unwarranted criminal investigation while a tenant at the New Orleans Court Apartments and that his lease was unlawfully terminated. Motions to dismiss have reduced the complaint to the following: a claim for monetary damages and injunctive relief against Defendants Mark Jones and Sue Morfitt (“New Orleans Defendants”), for violating 42 U.S.C. § 1982, and a claim for injunctive relief against Defendants Debbie Goettel and Michelle Luna (“City Defendants”), also for violating 42 U.S.C. § 1982.

         A pretrial scheduling conference was held regarding this matter on April 18, 2019. (ECF No. 98). Following the conference, the Court issued a scheduling order in this case. (ECF No. 99). The Court set a fact discovery deadline of September 1, 2019.

         On July 25, 2019, Peet filed two motions. First, he filed a motion to compel, seeking production of documents from the City Defendants, asserting that they produced “mostly junk mail not relevant to this case.” (ECF No. 103, p. 2). Peet claimed that if the City Defendants do not have responsive documents, then they need “to admit or deny Statement of Facts.” (ECF No. 103, p. 3). Peet also asked that the Court order the New Orleans Defendants provide proper discovery responses, noting that they also have provided no relevant documents to support any of their defenses. (ECF No. 103, p. 4).

         Second, Peet filed a motion regarding witness tampering and fraudulent documents. He claims that the New Orleans Defendants have intimidated and threatened witnesses and that their counsel has violated the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct. (ECF No. 104, p. 1). He further alleges that certain documents produced by the New Orleans Defendants were fabrications. (ECF No. 104, p. 5).

         It appears that no later than August 6, 2019, Peet informed the New Orleans Defendants that they had failed to produce a certain declaration in discovery that Peet claimed was relevant to this matter. Peet indicated the declaration was filed as part of a proceeding with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) that preceded this action. Peet made a second request for the declaration on August 8, 2019.

         The New Orleans Defendants were unable to locate a copy of this declaration in their records, though they were able to produce a separate unsigned statement from the author of the declaration. They then attempted to locate the declaration by filing public records requests for all documents produced to HUD and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (“MDHR”) regarding complaints that Plaintiff John E. Peet filed with each agency. HUD and MDHR have acknowledged receipt of those requests, but have been unable to identify precisely when they will respond.

         On August 22, 2019, the New Orleans Defendants asked by e-mail for an informal dispute conference to address whether the Court would order a limited extension of the fact discovery deadline to allow HUD and MDHR to respond to their requests. The Court denied that request and directed them to seek relief via formal motion practice. On August 30, 2019, the New Orleans Defendants moved for a limited extension of the fact discovery deadline. The other Defendants in this case do not oppose the motion for an extension. Peet, however, does oppose the request.[1]

         II. ...


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