This matter came
before the court for a status conference on December 19, 1997. Upon consideration
of the submissions of the parties, oral arguments, and the relevant law,
it is hereby ORDERED that the motions to strike plaintiffs' motions to
compel submitted by defendants Anthony Marceca, Craig Livingstone, Hillary
Rodham Clinton, the Executive Office of the President ("EOP"), and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") are hereby GRANTED. This court
will not entertain any motions to compel filed by plaintiffs until after
the status conference scheduled for January 13, 1998, at 10:00 a.m.
During the status conference, the court observed that certain responses submitted by defendants Executive Office of the President and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to plaintiffs' discovery requests were improper. Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel specifies that defendant EOP responded to plaintiffs' discovery request No. 1 in the following manner: "Documents responsive to this request are produced herewith in response to plaintiffs' other requests, and additional non-privileged documents falling within the legitimate scope of this request, if any, will be produced as they are located." Pl.s' Mot. to Compel at 50 (emphasis added). In response to plaintiffs' request No. 2, EOP indicated "Non-privileged documents falling within the legitimate scope of this request, if any, will be produced as are located.' Pl.s' Mot. to Compel at 52 (emphasis added). EOP responded to plaintiffs' request No. 3 in the same manner: "Additional non-privileged documents falling within the legitimate scope of this request, if any, will be produced as they are located." P1.s' Mot. to Compel at 53 (emphasis added). Plaintiffs' motion to compel is replete with similar instances in which the EOP has appended this phrase to their responses.
The FBI has furnished similar responses to Plaintiff's discovery requests. In numerous instances, the FBI responded to plaintiffs' requests by stating "Responsive documents, if any, will be produced . . ." (emphasis added). See, e.g., Pl.s' Mot. to Compel at 88 ("Responsive documents located to date are being produced . . .") (emphasis added), 91 ("Responsive documents are being produced . . .") (emphasis added), 100, 101, 102 ("Responsive documents, if any, will be produced . . .") (emphasis added).
Such responses to plaintiffs' requests for discovery are unacceptable. In effect, defendants have sought to arrogate to themselves an indefinite extension of the time in which they may respond to plaintiff's discovery requests. The court rejects defendants' interpretation of their obligation to respond to outstanding discovery on an on-going basis. This court has made
it abundantly clear that such a practice will not be tolerated. In Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc. et al. v. Hillary Rodham Clinton, et al., this court encountered similar conduct engaged in by the defendants in that case. This court commented:
Id. at 457 (emphasis added).
This court will not permit such tactics to occur in this case either,
as defendants' conduct in the instant case is equally improper. This court
will entertain any motion for sanctions arising from this misconduct that
plaintiffs may wish to file.
Royce C. Lamberth
United States District Judge