United States District Court, D. Maryland
DANIEL L. ROCKWELL, et al., Plaintiffs,
DETECTIVE CLYDE RAWLINS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
RICHARD D. BENNETT, District Judge.
Currently pending before the Court are Defendant Detective Clyde Rawlins' ("Detective Rawlins") Motion to Strike Declaration of Daniel L. Rockwell (ECF NO. 75) and Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Answers to Interrogatories and Response to Request for Production of Document (ECF No. 76). The parties' submissions have been reviewed, and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons that follow, Detective Rawlins' Motion to Strike Declaration of Daniel L. Rockwell (ECF No. 75) and Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Answers to Interrogatories and Response to Request for Production of Documents (ECF No. 76) are DENIED.
This case arises out of the execution of a warrant to arrest Plaintiff Daniel L. Rockwell ("Rockwell") in Baltimore City, Maryland. On February 8, 2011, Defendant Detective Clyde Rawlins ("Detective Rawlins") along with several other officers arrived at Plaintiffs' home at 4425 Wrenwood Avenue, Baltimore City, Maryland 21212 in order to execute the warrant. Pls.' Compl. ¶ 21. Rockwell exited his second story bedroom window and stood on the roof of the house. Id. ¶ 21. It is undisputed that Defendant Rawlins subsequently tasered Rockwell, causing Rockwell to fall from the roof to the ground and fracture his vertebrae. Id.
Plaintiffs filed an action in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City asserting a variety of federal and state claims for money damages against Defendants and the Baltimore City Police Department (ECF No. 2). Thereafter, the Defendants removed the action to this Court pursuant 28 U.S.C. § 1446 and 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and the Defendants filed a number of motions to dismiss.
This Court held a hearing on February 27, 2014, where Plaintiffs agreed to dismiss numerous counts, including the false arrest, false imprisonment, and negligence claims. Subsequently, this Court dismissed the action as to the other named individual Defendants as well as several of the other claims against Detective Rawlins and the Baltimore Police Department. The remaining Counts included claims against Rawlins for assault and battery (Counts I and II), gross negligence (Count VII), violation of the Maryland Declaration of Rights (Counts X and XI), and violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count XII). Plaintiffs' § 1983 claim against the Baltimore Police Department for violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment (Count XII) survived as well.
Thereafter, upon the Baltimore Police Department's motion, this Court bifurcated the case. Trial as to the claims against Detective Rawlins was scheduled for November 10, 2014, and the case was stayed as to the Baltimore Police Department.
The Scheduling Order in this case set the discovery deadline for July 25, 2014. Plaintiffs submitted a status report on July 25, 2014, indicating that some discovery was still outstanding due to "difficulties" of a "sensitive" nature. See ECF No. 68. That same day, Detective Rawlins filed his Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiffs filed their response brief on August 29, 2014, and attached a declaration made by Plaintiff Rockwell as an exhibit in support.
On September 11, 2014, Plaintiffs served their answers to interrogatories and responses to requests for production by email and U.S. Mail. Later that day, Detective Rawlins filed his Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Declaration. Then, on September 19, Detective Rawlins filed his Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Answers to Interrogatories and Response to Request for Production of Documents.
Defendant Detective Rawlins has filed two motions to strike. His Motion to Strike Declaration of Daniel L. Rockwell (ECF No. 75) seeks to prevent Plaintiffs from using Plaintiff Rockwell's Declaration, attached to his Opposition brief, as evidence in this case. In support of this motion, Detective Rawlins argues that the material in the declaration should have been-and was not-produced during discovery and that Plaintiff Rockwell is incapable of providing admissible testimony due to his mental condition. Detective Rawlins' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Answers to Interrogatories and Response to Request for Production of Document (ECF No. 76) seeks to preclude Plaintiffs from relying upon any information disclosed in their answers and responses. Detective Rawlins argues that Plaintiffs' responses were untimely and, therefore, Plaintiffs should be precluded from calling newly-disclosed witnesses or relying upon newly disclosed medical records. Additionally, Detective Rawlins again asserts that Plaintiff Rockwell should be precluded from offering testimony due to his alleged mental illness. This Court first addresses Plaintiffs' alleged discovery failures, and then discusses the issue of Plaintiff Rockwell's competence.
I. Sanctions for Alleged Discovery Violations
Rule 37(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs sanctions for failure to respond to interrogatories or requests for production. Rule 37(d) states:
(d) Party's Failure to Attend Its Own Deposition, Serve Answers to Interrogatories, or Respond to ...