United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
K. MAJZOUB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Jorge Medina's
Motion to Compel Defendants' Answers to Interrogatories.
(Docket no. 18.) Defendants Macomb County and Macomb County
Sheriff's Deputies Anthony Romita and Frederick Parisek
have not responded to Plaintiff's Motion; however, the
parties have filed a Joint Statement of Resolved and
Unresolved Issues (docket no. 20). With consent of the
parties, this case has been referred to the undersigned for
all proceedings in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)
and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73. (Docket no. 12.) The
Court has reviewed the Motion and dispenses with oral
argument pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule
7.1(f)(2). The Court is now ready to rule pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A).
initiated this action on February 9, 2016, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants violated his
rights as secured by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to
the United States Constitution. (Docket no. 1.) More
specifically, Plaintiff alleges that on February 15, 2014,
Defendants Romita and Parisek unlawfully entered
Plaintiff's home and unlawfully searched and seized
Plaintiff without a warrant or probable cause; used excessive
force against Plaintiff and/or failed to intervene in the
same; and acted with deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff's serious medical needs/injuries by failing to
provide Plaintiff with access to medical care. (Id.
¶¶ 10, 36-48.) Plaintiff also asserts a municipal
liability claim against Defendant Macomb County and a
state-law claim of assault and battery against Defendant
Romita. (Id. ¶¶ 49-61.)
October 7, 2016, Plaintiff served a set of twenty-two
interrogatories upon Defendants Romita and Parisek and a set
of twenty-one interrogatories upon Defendant Macomb County.
(Docket no. 18 at 2-3; docket no. 18-1 at 1-17.) Defendants
Romita and Parisek objected to and did not answer
Interrogatory nos. 8-22 on the basis that they exceeded the
maximum number of interrogatories, including discrete
subparts, allowed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
33(a)(1). (Docket no. 18 at 3; docket no. 18-1 at 26-33.)
Defendant Macomb County objected to and did not answer
Interrogatory nos. 20 and 21 on the same basis. (Docket no.
18 at 3; docket no. 18-1 at 49-50.) Plaintiff then filed the
instant Motion to Compel, in which he seeks a court order
compelling Defendants to answer the aforementioned
interrogatories as well as the costs and attorney fees he
incurred in filing the Motion. (Docket no. 18.) According to
the Joint Statement of Resolved and Unresolved Issues, the
parties were unable to resolve their dispute regarding
Plaintiff's interrogatories. (Docket no. 20.)
Law and Analysis
Rule of Civil Procedure 33 permits a party to serve no more
than twenty-five written interrogatories, including all
discrete subparts, without leave of court. Fed.R.Civ.P.
33(a)(1). “Discrete subparts” of an interrogatory
are questions that ask for discrete pieces of information.
Nolan, L.L.C. v. TDC Int'l Corp., No.
06-CV-14907-DT, 2007 WL 3408584, at *3 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 15,
2007) (citing Prochaska & Assocs. v. Merrill Lynch,
Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., 155 F.R.D. 189, 191
(D. Neb. 1993)). But a subpart that is related to the primary
question or directed at eliciting details concerning the
common theme of the interrogatory should be counted as one
interrogatory rather than as a discrete and separate
interrogatory. Harhara v. Norville, No. 07-CV-12650,
2007 WL 2897845, at * 1 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 25, 2007). For
example, “a question asking about communications of a
particular type should be treated as a single interrogatory
even though it requests that the time, place, persons
present, and contents be stated separately for each such
communication.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33 (Advisory Committee
Notes, 1993 Amendment, Subdivision (a)).
Plaintiff's interrogatories seek additional information
or details to support the primary answer, either in the text
of the interrogatory itself or in enumerated lists stationed
below the text of the interrogatory. (Compare
Interrogatory nos. 2 and 5 of Plaintiff's First Set of
Interrogatories to Defendants Romita and Parisek, docket no.
18-1 at 3, 4, and Interrogatory nos. 5 and 7 of
Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories to Defendant
Macomb County, docket no. 18-1 at 13, with
Interrogatory nos. 3 and 4 of Plaintiff's First Set of
Interrogatories to Defendants Romita and Parisek, docket no.
18-1 at 3-4, and Interrogatory no. 17 of Plaintiff's
First Set of Interrogatories to Defendant Macomb County,
docket no. 18-1 at 15.) As Plaintiff points out, Defendants
do not challenge any specific interrogatory or indicate which
of the interrogatories they interpret to contain discrete
subparts. A review of the interrogatories answered and left
unanswered by Defendants, however, reveals that Defendants
seemingly considered only those interrogatories with
enumerated lists stationed below the text of the
interrogatory to contain discrete subparts, with each of the
enumerated subparts counting toward the limit of twenty-five
argues that the enumerated subparts of his interrogatories do
not seek information about discrete and separate subjects,
but they are subsumed within and related to the primary
question set forth by the interrogatories. (Docket no. 18 at
9-13.) Defendants have not responded to Plaintiff's
Motion, and their general assertion in the Joint Statement of
Resolved and Unresolved Issues that they have “fully
and fairly responded to the maximum number of interrogatories
allowed by FRCP 33(a)(1), ” does not acknowledge or
address Plaintiff's argument or the supporting law cited
by Plaintiff. (See docket no. 20 at 2.)
conducted an independent review of Plaintiff's
interrogatories, the Court agrees with Plaintiff - each of
the subparts in the interrogatories at issue is either
related to the primary question or directed at eliciting
details regarding the common theme of the interrogatory.
Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiff has only served
Defendants Romita and Parisek with twenty-two interrogatories
and Defendant Macomb County with twenty-one interrogatories.
The Court will therefore order Defendants Romita and Parisek
to provide full and complete answers to Plaintiff's
Interrogatory nos. 8-22 and Defendant Macomb County to
provide full and complete answers to Plaintiff's
Interrogatory nos. 20 and 21, without further objection.
party receiving discovery requests under Rules 33 or 34 fails
to respond properly, Rule 37 provides the party who sent the
discovery the means to file a motion to compel. Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(3)(B). If a court grants a Rule 37 motion to compel, or
if discovery is received after a Rule 37 motion is filed,
then the court must award reasonable expenses and
attorney's fees to the successful party, unless the
successful party did not confer in good faith before the
motion, the opposing party's position was substantially
justified, or other circumstances would make an award unjust.
sanctions are appropriate in this case because the Court
grants Plaintiff's Motion to Compel and because
Defendants have failed to demonstrate that their position was
substantially justified or that other circumstances make an
award of expenses unjust. The Court will therefore order
Defendants to pay Plaintiff's reasonable expenses and
attorney's fees associated with bringing this Motion
pursuant to Rule 37(a)(5). The Court will also order
Plaintiff to submit a Bill of Costs.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff's Motion to
Compel Defendants' Answers to Interrogatories  is
GRANTED. Defendants Romita and Parisek are
ordered to provide full and complete answers to
Plaintiff's Interrogatory nos. 8-22, without further
objection, within twenty-one (21) days of this Opinion and
Order. Defendant Macomb County is ordered to provide full and
complete answers to Plaintiff's Interrogatory nos. 20 and
21, without further objection, within twenty-one days (21) of
this Opinion and Order.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants pay the
reasonable expenses and attorney's fees incurred by
Plaintiff as a result of bringing the instant Motion.
Plaintiff is ordered to submit to the Court a Bill of Costs
itemizing the same within twenty-one (21) days of this
Opinion and Order, at which ...