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Sultaana v. Jerman

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

August 29, 2019

HAKEEM SULTAANA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN JERMAN, et al., Defendant.

          JUDGE DONALD C. NUGENT

          ORDER

          Thomas M. Parker United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Hakeem Sultaana, an Ohio prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint, alleging, in relevant part[1], that Defendant-Detectives John Jerman and Richard Williamson (the “defendant-detectives”) violated his constitutional rights by illegally seizing currency from his home pursuant to a defective arrest warrant issued pursuant to a defective affidavit by Detective Jerman. SeeECF Doc. 1 at 3-6; see alsoECF Doc. 23. This court initially dismissed Sultaana's complaint, which included claims against the defendant-detectives and other government officers/employees. ECF Doc. 7. The Sixth Circuit reversed in part, finding that Sultaana alleged sufficient facts to state a Fourth Amendment claim under § 1983 for the defendant-detectives' allegedly illegal seizure of currency. ECF Doc. 23. The Court affirmed the dismissal order with respect to all other claims. ECF Doc. 23. The Sixth Circuit remanded Sultaana's case for further proceedings. ECF Doc. 23. Since then, expeditious resolution of this matter has remained elusive. Several deadlines have come and gone, and this court has modified the case schedule on multiple occasions. The following is the most current case schedule:

Close of Discovery: March 29, 2019
Filing of Dispositive Motions: May 3, 2019
Filing of Responses: June 3, 2019
Filing of Replies: June 21, 2019
Jury Trial: December 2, 2019

ECF Doc. 130 at 6; ECF Doc. 167. Additionally, this case was stayed since May 15, 2019, pending status reports after conferences between Sultaana and now-terminated standby counsel. SeeECF Doc. 147. As implied by the Court's order setting a trial date and denying reconsideration of that trial date, this case is no longer stayed.[2] SeeECF Doc. 167; ECF Doc. 170 (“Order denying Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. This case has been pending over four years.”).

         This case was initially referred to Magistrate Judge William Baughman, Jr., for general pretrial supervision, pursuant to Local Rule 72.1 and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) (permitting, without regard to whether any party consented, [3] a district judge to designate a magistrate judge to hear and determine any non-dispositive pretrial matter pending before the court, conduct hearings, and submit a report and recommendation for proposed findings of fact and disposition on any pretrial matter in the case). Magistrate Judge Baughman was recused on August 13, 2019, and the 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) referral was reassigned to me. ECF Doc. 168. A review of the docket reveals four pending motions: (1) a “motion to compel a discovery response” by the defendant-detectives (ECF Doc. 136); (2) a “motion for joinder” by Sultaana (ECF Doc. 140); (3) a “motion to strike defendants' motion to compel a discovery response” by Sultaana (ECF Doc. 141); and (4) a “motion for extension of time to file dispositive motions” by the defendant-detectives (ECF Doc. 144).

         For the reasons discussed below, the defendant-detectives' motion to compel discovery (ECF Doc. 136) is GRANTED. Sultaana's motion to strike (ECF Doc. 141) and motion for joinder (ECF Doc. 140) are DENIED. The defendant-detectives' motion to extend the time to file a dispositive motion (ECF Doc. 144) is GRANTED.

         I. Motion to Compel and Motion to Strike

         In their motion to compel, defendant-detectives assert that they attempted to depose Sultaana on March 29, 2019 - the final day of discovery. ECF Doc. 136 at 1. Sultaana refused to answer questions and claimed that he never received notice of the deposition. Id.The defendant-detectives argue that they were in contact with Sultaana during the week preceding the close of discovery, he said he was available for the deposition from March 25 through 29, 2019, and on March 28, 2019, and the defendant-detectives noticed Sultaana's deposition to occur on March 29, 2019. ECF Doc. 136 at 1-2; ECF Doc. 136-2 at 1; ECF Doc. 133. In response, Sultaana filed a motion to strike the defendant-detectives' motion to compel, asserting as a purported reason to strike the defendants' motion that he did not receive a copy of it until April 10, 2019. ECF Doc. 141; see alsoECF Doc. 145 at 1-2 (noting that the defendants filed their motion on March 29, 2019).

         Sultaana's objection to the defendant-detectives' motion to compel lacks merit. On March 8, 2019, the court ordered Sultaana to comply with the defendants' discovery requests, including their request to conduct a deposition. ECF Doc. 130 at 2-3. Moreover, Sultaana received notice of the deposition date, indicated he was available on the selected deposition date, and actually appeared, notwithstanding his apparent refusal to participate in good faith. ECF Doc. 133; ECF Doc. 136-1 at 1-2. Although normally a deposition notice would be filed earlier than the day before the deposition, the timing of notice came about after the parties had consulted and agreed upon the selected date. Further the allegedly late notice did not excuse Sultaana's refusal to answer questions. Sultaana was aware Defendants were seeking to depose him that week and knew that March 29, 2019 was ...


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