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YOSIWO P. GEORGE, Chief Justice:
Plaintiff filed a Motion to Strike, a Motion to Compel and a Motion to Sanction. Defendant did not file any timely opposition or other response to these motions. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss on March 12, 2002. Plaintiff filed a Memorandum in Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss on March 14, 2002. These pending motions were all set for hearing on March 26, 2002. Lyndon Cornelius appeared for the Plaintiff. Defendant represented himself, pro se.
Based upon the information provided to the Court, the parties' arguments, the file in this matter, and in the interests of justice, the Court ruled as follows: Plaintiff's Motion to Strike and Motion to Compel were granted. Plaintiff's Motion to Sanction was denied. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss was denied.
1. Plaintiff's Motion to Strike and Motion to Compel under Rules 33(a) and 37(a).
Plaintiff filed this Motion on February 19, 2002. Defendant did not file any timely opposition or other response to the Motion. Defendant's failure to oppose the Motion is deemed a consent to the Plaintiff's Motion. Medabalmi v. Island Imports Co., 10 FSM Intrm. 32, 34 (Chk. 2001).
[10 FSM Intrm. 572]
a. Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories
Plaintiff seeks to strike Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories, based upon the ground that the Defendant's Response was not made under oath as required by KRCP Rule 33. Rule 33(a) requires each interrogatory to be answered separately and fully in writing under oath. A review of the Defendant's Responses indicate that they were not answered under oath and therefore do not comply with the Rules. Defendant's Responses to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories are therefore stricken. Defendant is ordered to file and service his answers to the Plaintiff's interrogatories within 5 days of service of this Order, in compliance with Rule 33(a).
b. Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories, # 6.
Plaintiff seeks an order compelling the Defendant to answer interrogatory # 6, of the Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories.
Interrogatory # 6 states: "State if you have rented any of the three Samsung computer units referred to above from October 2000 to October 2002."
Defendant failed to provide any answer to Interrogatory # 6, in violation of KRCP Rule 33(a). Defendant is ordered to answer Interrogatory # 6, in compliance with KRCP Rule 33(a) within 5 days of service of this Order.
c. Plaintiff's First Request for Production of Documents, Request # 2.
Plaintiff seeks an order compelling the Defendant to produce certain documents that were requested in request # 2 of the Plaintiff's First Request for Production of Documents.
Request # 2 states: "Please provide copies of all diplomas and certificates for computer training that qualified you to render computer hookup, programming and maintenance services for fee."
Defendant's response to request # 2 was:
There is no service for fee in this civil action case but 13 years of military service performing computer duties can be obtain or verified by contacting the US Army. There is nobody on the island that can come near me as far as knowledge of experiences in the computer field. Find out my role with MPC during the investigation of the former GM.
Defendant's response to request 2 is evasive and non-responsive under Rule 37(a)(3). Defendant is ordered to answer request 2 of Plaintiff's First Request for Production of Documents, either by providing the Plaintiff with copies of the requested documents, or by making the requested documents available to the Plaintiff for review and copying. Defendant shall provide his response to request # 2 within 5 days of service of this Order.
2. Plaintiff's Motion to Sanction
Plaintiff filed a Motion to Sanction on February 19, 2002. Defendant did not file any timely opposition or other response to the Motion. Defendant's failure to oppose the Motion is deemed a consent to the Plaintiff's Motion. Medabalmi, 10 FSM Intrm. at 34.
Plaintiff seeks sanctions against the Defendant for Defendant's improper Request for Admission of Facts, paragraphs 8 through 18. A review of Defendant's Request for Admission of Facts, paragraph
[10 FSM Intrm. 573]
8 through 18 contains irrelevant, personal and inflammatory material regarding Plaintiff's counsel. These Requests for Admission are improper under the discovery rules of civil procedure. Defendant's Requests for Admission violate the KRCP because they do not ask for admissions of fact, are irrelevant to this matter, and reflect a personal bias against Plaintiff's counsel.
Defendant filed the Requests for Admission on Jan. 23, 2002, before Defendant was admitted to be a trial counselor to practice law in the State of Kosrae on Feb. 6, 2002. Therefore this Court considers the Defendant as a pro se litigant for determining whether sanctions are appropriate in for Defendant's improper Requests for Admission. Sanctions under KRCP Rule 11 are applicable only to legal counsel, not pro se litigants. Defendant, at the time of filing the improper Requests for Admission, was not yet a legal counsel admitted to practice law in this State. Therefore sanctions under Rule 11 shall not be applied. Plaintiff's Motion to Sanction is therefore denied.
However, considering the scandalous, irrelevant, insulting language of his Requests, the Defendant, who is now a legal counsel, is strongly warned about the improper language of the Requests. Defendant is warned that as legal counsel, he must keep his personal feelings aside when handling legal matters and focus only on issues relevant to the case. Litigation in this Court is not to be used as a battleground for personal feelings against other counsels.
Furthermore, as Requests for Admission, paragraphs 8 through 18 are irrelevant, improper, scandalous and inflammatory, they are hereby stricken from the record.
3. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss on March 12, 2002. Plaintiff filed an Opposition to the Motion on March 14, 2002. Defendant's Motion contains numerous statements of fact, none of which are supported by affidavit or other evidence. Defendant claims that Plaintiff does not have a claim because he returned the Plaintiff's computer set to him. Defendant also claims that a settlement offer was made, but not finalized.
Plaintiff opposes the Motion to Dismiss on several grounds. Most importantly, Plaintiff claims that the Defendant has never returned the Plaintiff's computer units. This is a material issue of fact which is disputed, and must be resolved at trial.
Plaintiff also admits that there were settlement negotiations, but that the matter was not resolved. Settlement negotiations are not adequate grounds for dismissal of a matter. Generally when parties do settle a matter, they jointly request the Court for dismissal. Here there has been no settlement reached. Therefore, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is denied. Should the parties reach a settlement agreement before trial, the parties are to file a joint Motion for Dismissal of this matter.
The trial date of this matter is amended and now set for April 23, 2002 at 9 a.m. Pre-trial briefs shall be filed and served by each party no later than April 16, 2002.
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