United States District Court, D. Idaho
MICHAEL T. HAYES, Plaintiff,
RACHEL NETTLES, MICHAEL MONTGOMERY, CHARLES JOHANNESSEN, AND FELIX DIAZ, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye Chief U.S. District Court Judge
before the Court is Defendants Rachel Nettles, Michael
Montgomery, Charles Johannessen, and Felix Diaz's
(collectively “Defendants”) Motion to Amend
Admissions by Default. Dkt. 80. Having reviewed the record
and briefs, the Court finds that the facts and legal
arguments are adequately presented. Accordingly, in the
interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court
finds that the decisional process would not be significantly
aided by oral argument, the Court will decide the motion
without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1)(B).
For reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendants'
filed his pro se original complaint on December 12, 2016.
Dkt. 1. After an initial review, the Court permitted Hayes to
proceed with some of his claims on March 6, 2017. Dkt 11.
then filed a motion to dismiss the case on May 4, 2017,
arguing that some or all of Hayes' claims were barred by
the doctrine in Heck v. Humphry, 512 U.S. 477
(1994). Dkt. 17. On October 11, 2017, the Court denied that
motion (Dkt. 34) and set a scheduling order a few days later
(Dkt. 35). Pursuant to that scheduling order, discovery was
to close on April 11, 2018, and the dispositive motion
deadline was May 9, 2018.
December 19, 2017, Hayes filed a motion to amend his
complaint to add additional defendants and additional claims.
Dkt. 38. On May 9, 2018, Defendants filed a motion for
summary judgment seeking dismissal of Hayes' original
complaint. Dkt. 60. On September 27, 2018, the Court granted
Hayes' motion to amend his complaint and dismissed
Defendants' motion for summary judgment as moot. Dkt. 69.
On March 26, 2019, the Court reviewed the amended complaint
and permitted Hayes to proceed against one additional
defendant (Felix Diaz) and on one additional claim (due
process). Dkt. 70.
subsequently filed a motion to reopen discovery related to
the new claim on April 10, 2019. Dkt. 71. Defendants'
counsel received a letter from Hayes containing discovery
requests on August 12, 2019. Two days later, on August 14,
2019, the Court granted Hayes' motion to reopen discovery
and entered a new scheduling order. Dkt. 78.
failed to answer Hayes' requests for admission within 30
days of the date that discovery was reopened. On October 7,
2019, Defendants' counsel received a follow-up letter
from Hayes asking for responses. On November 5, 2019,
Defendants filed the pending motion to amend their
admissions. Dkt. 80. Hayes never responded to Defendants'
motion to amend admissions.
party fails to timely respond to requests for admissions,
those requests are automatically deemed admitted.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 36(a). “Any matter
admitted under this rule is conclusively established unless
the Court on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the
admission.” Id. The Court has discretion to
grant relief from an admission made under Rule 36(a) if (1)
“it would promote the presentation of the merits of the
action” and (2) “the party who obtained the
admission fails to satisfy the court that withdrawal or
amendment will prejudice that party in maintaining the action
or defense on the merits.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(b);
Conlon v. United States, 474 F.3d 616, 621 (9th Cir.
2007) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
first half of the test in Rule 36(b) is satisfied when
upholding the admission would practically eliminate any
presentation of the merits of the case.” Hadley v.
United States, 45 F.3d 1345, 1348 (9th Cir. 1995). Under
the second half of the Rule 36(b) test, “[t]he party
relying on the deemed admission has the burden of proving
prejudice.” Conlon, 474 F.3d at 622.
“The prejudice contemplated by Rule 36(b) is ‘not
simply that the party who obtained the admission will now
have to convince the factfinder of its truth. Rather, it
relates to the difficulty a party may face in proving its
case, e.g., caused by the unavailability of key
witnesses, because of the sudden need to obtain evidence'
with respect to the questions previously deemed
admitted.” Hadley, 45 F.3d at 1348, (quoting
Brook Village N. Assocs. v. General Elec. Co., 686
F.2d 66, 70 (1st Cir. 1982)).
seek to amend five admissions made by default. Defendants
state that their failure to respond to the requests was the
result of clerical oversight; their counsel reportedly failed
to calendar a deadline 30 days from when the discovery date
was reopened on August 14, 2019, and only realized the
mistake on October 7, 2019, when Defendants received a letter
from Hayes asking for responses. Dkt. 80-1, at 4. Defendants
argue that their motion “should be granted because ...