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Harrison v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 24, 2014

Chad Lucas Harrison, Plaintiff,
v.
Charles L. Ryan, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

EILEEN S. WILLETT, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is an inmate in custody at the Arizona Department of Corrections. He filed a Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 alleging Defendants violated his civil rights. Plaintiff filed a document on October 22, 2014 (Doc. 62) which the Court has deemed to be a Motion to Compel. See Order filed October 31, 2014 (Doc. 66). Plaintiff asserts that documents identified in his Request for Production dated August 4, 2014 (Doc. 62, Ex. D) have not been produced. Plaintiff fails to provide any specific objection to the Defendants' responses to Request for Production numbers 3, 11-13, and 15. Therefore, the Court must limit its review and analysis to Request for Production numbers 1-2, 4-10, and 14 (Doc. 62, Ex. D). See Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a) and L.R.Civ. 7.2(j). Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (Doc. 62) is denied as to Request for Production numbers 3, 11-13, and 15.

DISCUSSION

I. Duty to in Good Faith Confer or Attempt to Confer with Opposing Party Before Filing a Motion to Compel

Rule 37(a)(1), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a party's motion to compel include a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the opposing party in an effort to obtain the sought discovery without Court intervention. Local Rule of Civil Procedure 7.2(j), as well as this Court's Scheduling Order (Doc. 17), further requires personal or telephonic consultation between the parties prior to the filing of a motion to compel. Plaintiff failed to include his required certification that such efforts were actually made. For this reason alone, the Motion to Compel (Doc. 62) may be denied. However, the Court has reviewed the merits of the discovery at issue for reasons of judicial economy.

II. Plaintiff's Request for Production

The law provides that a party may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to a party's claim. The relevant information need not be admissible at trial if it is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). All discovery is, however, subject to reasonable limitations by the Court when "the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit, considering the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the parties' resources, the importance of the issues at stake in the action, and the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C)(iii).

Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1) alleges that Defendants violated Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights when Defendants approved Plaintiff for protective segregation but did not provide adequate protection for Plaintiff from injury by other inmates. Plaintiff seeks a number of items in his Request for Production which Plaintiff argues are relevant to his case.

A. Request No. 1: "Any and all e-mails between Defendant Charles Ryan and Stacey Crabtree and Marlene Coffey concerning the Plaintiff's requests for safety and classification and appeals." (Doc. 62 at 23)

Plaintiff identifies Marlene Coffey as a protective custody administrator for the Department of Corrections. Though Ms. Coffey is not a named Defendant, she is in the employ of the institution at which Plaintiff is incarcerated and where his alleged injuries were sustained. Mr. Ryan and Ms. Crabtree are named as Defendants. The Plaintiff has limited the scope of the email requested to those emails "concerning Plaintiff's requests for safety and classification and appeals." The identified topics are arguably relevant to Plaintiff's claim or calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence. Further, the Court interprets the request to limit the email correspondence among the identified sender/recipients only and the information regarding only Plaintiff. Specifically, emails from any of the three named individuals to any of the three individuals about Plaintiff. The Court imposes a timeframe of 2008 to the present, as Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1) alleges continuing harm from 2008.

Therefore, the Motion to Compel (Doc. 62) is granted in part as set forth herein as to Request for Production No. 1. If emails obtained by Defendants refer to additional inmates, an in camera inspection and redaction may be requested. Defendants indicate that, as a result of their search to date, no emails exist that fall within the parameters set forth by the Court. Defendants have a continuing obligation to disclose information deemed relevant by the Court.

B. Request No. 2: "Any and all grievances, inmate letters and complaints, Classification documents and appeals received by prison staff, Defendants and their agents concerning Plaintiff from 2008 until present day Aug. 4th, 2014." (Doc. 62 at 23)

The Court finds that all grievances, inmate letters, complaints, and appeals generated by Plaintiff to the Defendants, prison staff, and Defendants' agents from 2008 to August 4, 2014 are relevant and discoverable. Classification documents as identified by the Defendants in their Response (Doc. 73 at 7) are also relevant. The described methodology for disclosure set forth by Defendants is deemed reasonable. (Doc. 73 at 7-9) However, whether Plaintiff was actually housed with an inmate who actively appeared on Plaintiff's "Do Not House With List" from 2008 when Defendants were seeking to separate the individuals is discoverable information. If such an event occurred, then the time period and housing location for the event shall be identified. Further briefing regarding damages and security issues will be necessary before the Court would consider whether the identity of any such inmates on Plaintiff's "Do Not House With List" are discoverable in this case.

C. Request No. 4: "All documentation listing all inmates (total number) being housed at ASPC Complex Lewis Detention Centers, and isolation cells for refusing to house, requesting protection from ...


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