United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' SECOND
MOTION TO DEEM FACTS ADMITTED
BERNARD A. FRIEDMAN SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is presently before the Court on defendants'
second motion to deem facts admitted [docket entry 25].
Plaintiff has not responded and the time for him to do so has
expired. Pursuant to E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2), the Court shall
decide this motion without a hearing. Therefore, the hearing
scheduled for May 22, 2018, is canceled.
a former Monroe County deputy sheriff, alleges that the
current Monroe County sheriff has denied his requests to
provide him with his “retirement credentials including
the photographic identification” that plaintiff needs
in order to obtain a concealed firearms permit under the Law
Enforcement Officers Safety Act (“LEOSA”), 18
U.S.C. § 926C. Compl. ¶ 29. Plaintiff alleges that
the sheriff has denied these requests in retaliation for
plaintiff's support of another candidate for sheriff in
the last election. Id. ¶ 34. Plaintiff claims
that the sheriff and Monroe County have violated his rights
under LEOSA and under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
For relief, plaintiff seeks damages, costs, and an injunction
ordering the sheriff to provide him with his retirement
instant motion, defendants argue that plaintiff has responded
improperly to their requests for admission. The admission
requests were mailed to plaintiff on November 2, 2017.
See docket entry 14-1 (Pg ID 82). Plaintiff
responded on December 6 by objecting to each of the 30
admission requests on the grounds that “this incident
took place over 20 years ago [and that] this request is not
relevant to the cause of action that is at issue in this
case.” See docket entry 14-5 (Pg ID 148-59).
On December 27, defendants filed a “motion to deem
facts admitted, ” in which they argued that
plaintiff's objections were unjustified. Plaintiff
responded to this motion on February 6 by filing substantive
answers to defendants' admission requests. See
docket entry 19. Magistrate Judge Majzoub denied
defendants' motion because the “prayer for relief
is not consistent with the title or body of the motion,
” but she invited defendants to file a corrected motion
within fourteen days and, if defendants elected to do so,
instructed them to “address Plaintiff's February 6,
2018 filing of revised answers . . . and any resolved or
unresolved issues resulting therefrom.”
their “corrected motion” now before the Court,
defendants argue that plaintiff should not be permitted to
revise his initial responses and that those responses (i.e.,
objections) are improper. Alternatively, defendants argue
that plaintiff's revised responses are insufficient. In
either event, defendants argue that plaintiff should be
deemed to have admitted all of the admission requests.
repeated objection, in his initial response to the admission
requests, was improper. Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(5),
“[t]he grounds for objecting to a request must be
stated.” Plaintiff's objection that “this
incident took place over 20 years ago” does not explain
the grounds for the objection. If meant to imply that
plaintiff lacks memory of the event, it is contradicted by
plaintiff's revised responses, in which he has responded
substantively and at times in some detail. If meant to imply
lack of relevance, it is redundant of the second part of the
objection (“not relevant to the cause of action that is
at issue in this case”), which itself is improper in
light of the broad definition of relevance under Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b). On their face the admission requests are plainly
relevant, as they concern an investigation by the Michigan
Sheriff's Association and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco
and Firearms into plaintiff's involvement in purchasing
firearms while he was employed as a deputy sheriff.
as here, the Court determines that plaintiff's objections
are improper, “the court must order that an answer be
served.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(6). In the present case,
the Court need not do so because plaintiff has submitted
revised answers responding without objection to each
admission request. Defendants cite authority for the
proposition that a party should not be permitted to revise
its responses to admission requests after a motion has been
filed challenging the sufficiency of the responses. However,
the Court prefers to examine plaintiff's revised answers
in the interest of resolving issues on the merits rather than
argue that plaintiff's answers to admission requests 5,
6, 8, 9, 11, 18, 19, 21-27, 29 and 30 are insufficient and
suggest that plaintiff should be deemed to have admitted all
of these requests. The Court has examined all of these
admission requests and plaintiff's answers, and denies
defendants' motion as to admission requests 5, 6, 8, 19,
21-25, and 30. If defendants wish to delve deeper into these
areas, other discovery tools are available to them.
remaining answers (to admission requests 9, 11, 18, 26, 27,
and 29) are insufficient. These requests, and responses, are:
9. That at the meeting of September 17, 1996, did you inform
the investigators that Marine Officer Norman Whipple wished
to purchase a gun and that there were other marine officers
who wanted to purchase weapons as well?
RESPONSE: I believe Norm Whipple was a
marine officer and he want [sic] to buy a gun.
11. That the [sic] meeting of September 17, 1996, did you
tell investigating officers Norm Whipple and George Foreman
had prior knowledge that their names were going to be used
for the order of the weapons.
RESPONSE: I believe Norm Whipple did order a
gun and I thought Sheriff VanWert had told George Foreman
about his name being used to order the Gun. George Foreman
was the Jail Administrator and was one of Sheriff
VanWert's appointed people.
18. Do you admit that on September 17, 1996, the rosters for
marine deputies, reserve deputies and sheriff posse members
did not contain the names of Richard J. Russell, ...