United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Michael B. Hari, Plaintiff,
James Stuart, et al., Defendants.
Michael B. Hari, Sherburne County Jail, (pro se Plaintiff)
I. Yount, Anoka County Attorney’s Office, Government
Center, (for Defendants).
N. Leung United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for
Sanctions under Rule 37 (ECF No. 16) and Plaintiff’s
Motion to Compel Disclosure. (ECF No. 17). For the reasons
set forth below, the Court will deny each motion.
Michael B. Hari filed suit on May 20, 2019. (ECF No. 1). His
application to proceed in forma pauperis was granted
on July 22, 2019. (ECF No. 11) His complaint was served on
August 13, 2019. (ECF No. 20).
service of Hari’s complaint was effected, however, he
served a Request for Production of Documents on Defendants.
(ECF No. 18). He sought, among other things, digital audio
and video recordings related to pat-down searches.
Defendants, having not yet received the complaint, treated
Hari’s request as being made under the Minnesota
Government Data Practices Act, and responded as such on
August 2, 2019. (ECF No. 19). In their response, Defendants
indicated that all video recordings that Hari sought had been
“automatically overwritten by the system.” (ECF
August 23, 2019, shortly after his complaint was served, Hari
filed two motions. First, he sought sanctions under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 37. (ECF No. 16). Second, he sought
an order compelling disclosure of documents responsive to his
Request for the Production of Documents. (ECF No. 17).
answered the complaint on September 4, 2019. (ECF No. 22).
The Court issued a pretrial scheduling order that, among
other things, required fact discovery to be complete by
January 31, 2020. (ECF No. 25). Hari then filed an amended
complaint on September 11, 2019. (ECF No. 26). Defendants are
in the process of answering the amended complaint. (ECF No.
Court must deny Hari’s motions without prejudice for
failure to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
and this District’s Local Rules. To begin, Hari did not
properly serve his motion papers on Defendants. Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 5(d)(2) requires papers not filed
electronically to be accompanied by a certificate of service,
or that a certificate of service be provided a reasonable
time after service. No. certificate of service was provided
regarding these motions. This alone would be grounds to deny
more importantly, Hari did not meet-and-confer with
Defendants or shortly thereafter, as the District’s
Local Rules require when a party files a discovery-related
motion. D. Minn. Local Rule 7.1(a). The meet-and-confer
process is an important part of discovery-related motion
practice, as it allows the parties to narrow the issues left
to be decided by the Court and helps formulate a record upon
which the Court can resolve those remaining disputes. The
Court will therefore require Hari to make meaningful attempts
to comply with this rule before it will consider the merits
of these or any future motions. Should Hari fail to comply
with the meet-and-confer requirement going forward, his
motions may be summarily dismissed without prejudice.
the Court notes that Defendants took great exception to the
timing of Hari’s motions. Though the Court agrees that
it was premature for Hari to file his motions before service
of his complaint was completed, Defendants have since
appeared in this matter, the Court has since issued its
pre-trial scheduling order, and more than 21 days has passed
since service of the initial summons and complaint.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(d)(2)(A) (permitting early
Rule 34 requests 21 days after service of the summons and
complaint). As a result, there is now no reason for discovery
not to be underway. The Court expects both sides to cooperate
with each other and comply with all applicable rules,
statutes, and the like when propounding and responding to