United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
Hannah Lauck, United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on four motions, all pertaining
(1) pro se Defendant Jason Goodman's "Motion
for Protective Order and Motion to Stay Discovery,"
("Goodman's Discovery Motion"), (ECF No. 109);
(2) Plaintiffs Robert David Steele and Earth Intelligence
Network's ("EIN," and, collectively with
Steele, "Plaintiffs") Motion for Sanctions, (ECF
(3) Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Discovery, (ECF No.
126), and the related Discovery Chart, (ECF No. 136); and,
(4) Plaintiffs' Motion for Protective Order, (ECF No.
motions border on unintelligibility, and a review of the
parties' other filings complicate matters further.
Critically, Goodman and Plaintiffs (collectively,
"Parties") consistently fail to satisfy all Local
Rules for the Eastern District of Virginia. As a result, the
Court will not decide the merits of these motions in their
Goodman's Protective Order and Motion to Stay
purports to be a Motion for Protective Order and for Stay of
Discovery, Goodman seeks a relief from engaging in discovery
for this case via improper procedure and based on upon
several faulty positions. First, Goodman's Discovery
Motion does not comply with Local Rule 7(F)(1), which states,
in relevant part: "All motions, unless otherwise
directed by the Court and except as noted herein below in
subsection 7(F)(2),  shall be accompanied by a written brief
setting forth a concise statement of the facts and supporting
reasons, along with a citation of the authorities upon which
the movant relies." E.D. Va. Loc. Civ. R. 7(F)(1).
Goodman's Discovery Motion consists of a single document
in which Goodman moves the Court to stay discovery and enter
a protective order in his favor and without making any
substantial arguments in support of his motion. Goodman failed to
file his supporting brief separate from the motion itself, as
required by the Local Rules.
compliance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 26
governs the broad scope of discovery:
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Of course, discovery matters fall
within the Court's sound discretion, and Goodman parrots
the Rules when noting that "the court may grant an order
to deny, limit or restrict discovery to '[p]rotect a
participant or other person from undue annoyance, burden,
harassment or oppression.'" (Goodman Disc. Mot. 3
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1) (emphasis omitted)).)
relying on Rule 26(c)(1), Goodman fails to satisfy an
additional procedural prerequisite: "The motion must
include a certification that the movant has in good faith
conferred or attempted to confer with other affected parties
in an effort to resolve the dispute without court
action." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). Goodman's Discovery
Motion meanders along a series of communications with Counsel
for Plaintiffs regarding the Rule 26(f) Conference, focusing
almost exclusively on alleged failures by Plaintiffs'
Counsel. This does not constitute the kind of certification,
or good faith attempt, that the Federal or Local Rules
were the Court to overlook these procedural defects,
Goodman's Discovery Motion fails to raise legally
relevant arguments. Goodman generally makes two arguments in
favor of entering a protective order, neither of which
persuade the Court. First, Goodman essentially argues his
case: "Plaintiff has failed to make a legitimate claim
for which relief can be granted." (Goodman Disc. Mot.
2.) Goodman previously filed a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to
Dismiss, (ECF No. 45), which the Court denied, (ECF ...