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Clinton v. California Dep't of Corrections

January 20, 2009

THOMAS CLINTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



ORDER

At the time this case was filed, plaintiff was a state prisoner. Plaintiff alleges that he was raped by another prisoner. This suit was filed against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") and various CDCR employees, for causes of action generally arising out of plaintiff's treatment subsequent to his rape.

Defendants seek to depose plaintiff, and request that he bring with him the documents he will use to support his case. In response, plaintiff eventually requested a protective order that would excuse him from appearing at this deposition, requested to appear telephonically, and requested to postpone the deposition. The Magistrate Judge assigned to the case rejected each of these requests. The Magistrate also rejected plaintiff's request that the Magistrate recuse himself from this case. Plaintiff has filed numerous documents which the court interprets as requests for reconsideration of these orders. These requests are currently before the court.

I. BACKGROUND

Because this case has a lengthy and confusing record, the court begins with a summary of the facts and relevant filings.

According to the allegations of plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint, another prisoner raped him while he was in state prison. Plaintiff alleges that subsequent to the rape, prison officials inadequately responded to plaintiff's complaints, wrongly circulated a report regarding the incident among staff and other prisoners, committed related violations of plaintiff's rights, and then falsified documents and altered records to prevent review of these wrongdoings. Plaintiff's particular allegations are not at issue in the present motion.

Plaintiff filed suit on August 11, 2005. At that time, he was still a state prisoner. Plaintiff proceeded pro se, and was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The complaint was subjected to the screening mandated by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) and was properly amended in response to such screening three times. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the third amended complaint, which was granted in part. Four defendants remain, all of whom are CDCR employees.

At some time after filing this suit, plaintiff was granted parole. He alleges that after he was released, he was homeless, unemployed, and frequently assaulted. Around November 2006, he succeeded in having his parole transferred to Arkansas, where he apparently lives with family. Plaintiff declares that he remains unemployed, and that his only income is $160 a month in food stamps. (Pl.'s "Declaration of Hardship" and supporting exhibits, Doc. #236, December 8, 2008.)*fn1

The parties commenced discovery on October 25, 2007. On April 9, 2008, defendants sent plaintiff notice that they would depose him on May 14, 2008, in Sacramento. The deposition notice requested that plaintiff produce the following documents at the deposition, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 32:

1. Any and all letters, grievances, or inmate appeals submitted by you in connection with the subject matter of this lawsuit.

2. All documents which you have in your possession or control which relate to issues you allege are the subject matter of this lawsuit.

3. All written statements you have received from any person concerning the issues you claim are the subject matter of this lawsuit.

4. All documents in your possession or control which you intend to use at trial.

(Pl.'s Response to Defs.' Notice of Taking Deposition, Ex. 1, April 18, 2008). Plaintiff filed a response on April 18, stating that he could not afford to travel from Arkansas to Sacramento. Plaintiff also stated that the requested documents filled numerous banker's boxes, and that plaintiff therefore also could not afford to transport the documents to California with him.*fn2

Plaintiff proposed that defendants pay his travel expenses to enable him to attend the deposition.*fn3

Defendants apparently declined to pay plaintiff's expenses, and plaintiff did not appear for the May 14, 2008 deposition. Defendants subsequently filed a motion to exclude plaintiff's testimony, or in the alternative to compel his appearance at a subsequent deposition, and seeking sanctions in the amount of defendants' attorney's fees resulting from ...


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