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Planker v. Christie

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 27, 2018

KEVIN PLANKER, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DOUGLAS E. ARPERT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on a motion filed by pro se Plaintiff Kevin Planker (“Planker”) to Produce Documents and to Supplement the Complaint. No. opposition to the motion has been filed by defendants. Upon reviewing the papers submitted by Planker and having declined to hold oral argument pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b), for the reasons set forth below Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff, a prisoner at New Jersey State Prison, filed his Complaint on July 22, 2013, alleging myriad claims relating to his confinement. The original Complaint named twelve defendants. Upon screening the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp dismissed with prejudice a number of Plaintiff's claims and dismissed without prejudice claims against four supervisor defendants, as well as claims asserting denial of access to the courts, denial of religious exercise, denial of medical care, denial of an adequate religious diet, and miscellaneous claims regarding his conditions of confinement. Id. Judge Shipp's Order, dated January 20, 2015, gave Plaintiff 45 days to file a motion to amend as to those claims dismissed without prejudice. ECF No. 4. Pursuant to the Order, only Defendants Barnes and Hoffman remain. Id.

         Plaintiff did not file a Motion to Amend until more than a year later, on March 10, 2016. ECF No. 22. Plaintiff later withdrew that motion in order to file an allegedly more “complete” motion on May 27, 2016. ECF Nos. 25, 30. This Court denied that motion by order dated March 31, 2017, reasoning that the proposed Amended Complaint, at more than 400 pages long and containing “a mass of verbiage, ” failed to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, which requires a “a short and plain statement of the claim” and “be simple, concise, and direct.” ECF No. 58 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), (d)). This Court also pointed to Plaintiff's undue delay in filing the Motion to Amend well outside the time provided by Judge Shipp and with the case then already four years old. Id. at 4, 5.

         On April 25, 2017, Planker filed a Motion for Reconsideration as to his Motion to Amend, ECF No. 59 at 4, and a day later moved to Supplement the Complaint. ECF No. 60. This Court denied the Motion for Reconsideration, finding that the motion was filed out of time and failed to satisfy the applicable standard governing motions for reconsideration. ECF No. 77 at 6. Concomitantly, the Motion to Supplement the Complaint was denied because Planker did not affix a copy of the proposed supplemental pleading as required by Local Civil Rule 7.1. Id. at 7.

         On November 17, 2017, Planker appealed the denial of the Motion to Amend the Complaint. ECF No. 79. U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti affirmed, holding that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate this Court's denial of his Motion to Amend/Supplement was “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” ECF No. 92, (citing L.Civ.R. 72.1(c)(1)(A)).

         Prior to Judge Martinotti's ruling, Plaintiff on March 8, 2018 filed the instant motion, which includes a second motion to file a Supplemental Complaint “limited to only the issues he claims were linked to retaliation by Defendants Barnes and Hoffman” that continued after the retirements of both Defendants. ECF No. 88.

         II. Analysis

         1. The Motion to Produce Documents

         a. Legal Standard

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1), “[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense” and “the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action.” See also Pearson v. Miller, 211 F.3d 57, 65 (3d Cir. 2000). At the same time, the Federal Rules provide that the Court “must limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed” if it concludes that:

(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive;
(ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by ...

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