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Winn v. Centura Health

United States District Court, D. Colorado

April 29, 2019

RYAN WINN, Plaintiff,
v.
CENTURA HEALTH, Defendant.

          RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          Kathleen M. Tafoya, United States Magistrate Judge

         This case comes before the court on “Defendant Centura's Motion to Dismiss” [Doc. No. 44] filed February 4, 2019. “Plaintiff's Objection to Centura's Motion to Dismiss” [Doc. No. 54](“Resp.”) was filed on February 27, 2019, although Plaintiff claims he “is under no legal obligation to submit a response to a void order issued by Judge Kathleen Tafoya, Judge Phillip Brimmer, or answer Defendant's Counsel's Mel Sabey's pointless motion . . . .” Defendant filed a Reply [Doc. No. 55] on March 11, 2019.

         Plaintiff filed his Title VII Complaint on April 6, 2018. [Doc. No. 1.] Now a year later and no closer to actually discovering anything about the pending allegations, the plaintiff cannot be persuaded to participate in discovery, even in the most fundamental ways, and is disclaiming jurisdiction of the Court he himself chose when filing his case. While this court has been, and remains, sympathetic to Plaintiff's apparently uncontrollable, self-destructive fixation on side issues, the time has come to call it quits.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, in his twenty-five page Complaint, alleges Disparate Treatment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 (Claim I); Tampering with Evidence in violation of criminal statute 18 U.S.C. §1512 (Claim II); and Retaliation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e (Claim III). Defendant answered the Complaint on May 14, 2018. [Doc. No. 5.] Thereafter, Plaintiff, in the first of many frivolous side-show diversions, mounted a campaign to have default and default judgment entered against Defendant, in spite of the fact an Answer had been timely filed. [Doc. Nos. 7-12.] Plaintiff claimed he was not properly served with the Answer, thus entitling him to default. While briefing was underway on these issues, a Scheduling Conference was set for July 9, 2018. Plaintiff, however, refused to participate in drafting a Scheduling Order so the matter had to be re-set. [Doc. No. 19.] Even though the court ruled against him concerning default and urged him to move forward with discovery about the merits of the case, Plaintiff continued to persist in his request to have default judgment entered. [Doc. No. 20.] At the rescheduled conference on July 24, 2018, the court spent considerable in-person time with Plaintiff listening to his concerns and attempting to get him on track to prosecute his case.[1] Id. Among many other issues, the court explained that Defendant was entitled to take Plaintiff's deposition, and Plaintiff was required to provide convenient dates and times to sit for his deposition.

         Once Plaintiff left the courtroom, instead of proceeding with discovery, he continued to bog himself down with side issues, refusing to confer with opposing counsel and making unreasonable demands regarding an email he was convinced (without any empirical evidence) had been subjected to tampering.[2] [Doc. Nos. 25, 29.] On November 15, 2018, this court convened a telephone hearing to try to mediate this and other discovery issues and further help Plaintiff proceed with his case. [Doc. No. 33.] The court spent one hour and ten minutes discussing with Plaintiff the suspect email that he demanded be produced directly from the email server where it was stored. Although not required to do so, Defendant's counsel agreed to Plaintiff's request, and the court believed the case could finally progress. But, alas, that proved to be wishful thinking.

         In less than a week, Plaintiff filed more motions about the same email which had, by this time, been produced to Plaintiff by Defendant in several different ways attempting to satisfy Plaintiff's demands. This time Plaintiff sought sanctions against the defendant. [Doc. No. 34, 36-7.] Unfortunately, neither the court nor Defendant's counsel, up to this day, has ever understood what exactly Plaintiff wanted with respect to production of the one email.

         On December 18, the court set another hearing both on the issues raised by Plaintiff and on the issue of Plaintiff's refusal to sit for a deposition. [Doc. No. 39.] At the hearing on January 4, 2019, the court spent two hours and twenty-three minutes listening to Plaintiff and trying to get him focused on the issues relevant to the case. [Doc. No. 41.] At the conclusion of this marathon hearing, the court ordered the Plaintiff to stay in the courtroom with defense counsel and provide dates and times when he was available during January 2019 to have his deposition taken. The court ordered the parties not to leave until they had agreed on a date, time and location for Plaintiff's deposition. Id. The court minutes reflect

Court advises Plaintiff that he is repeatedly missing the point of discovery and that filing wasteful and unfounded motions and failing to participate in discovery and otherwise prosecuting his case could result in dismissal of the action pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41 and 37. The court reminds Plaintiff of his obligations under Fed.R.Civ.P. 11 and that Defendant has a right to inquire about his Rule 11 basis for the law suit.

Id.

         Further, the court ordered the Plaintiff to produce discoverable material, including an audiotape, to Defendant and advised him “[f]ailure to produce documents as directed may result in a recommendation from this court that case be dismissed.” Id. at 2.

         The court had only been off the bench for ten minutes when Defendant's counsel was forced to contact chambers because Plaintiff, in direct contravention of the orders just entered during the hearing, had advised him that Plaintiff would not produce certain material, including an audiotape, in his possession because it was “work product.” The court reconvened the already stultifying hearing to explain the parameters of work product to Plaintiff and order him once again to produce the discovery. Id.

         As could only be expected given the course of the litigation thus far, instead of taking the directions and orders of the court and moving forward with discovery, Plaintiff instead filed objections to this court's rulings, including a demand for this court's recusal [Doc. No. 42]. His request was denied by Chief District Judge Brimmer a few days later. [Doc. No. 43.]

         On February 4, 2019, the instant motion was filed by Defendant, stating that

Mr. Winn agreed to have his deposition taken on January 24, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Defense Counsel's office and the deposition was noticed. . . . On January 18, 2019, Mr. Winn filed his Objection to Magistrates Order and Recusal. In that filing, Mr. Winn declared: “Any orders rendered against the Plaintiff by Judge Kathleen ...

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