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Jackson v. Runnels

March 23, 2009

MARCHEA JACKSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
D.L. RUNNELS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



ORDER

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action proceeds on plaintiff's second amended complaint. Plaintiff alleges that he was injured in an automobile accident while being transported by prison officials in a van without seatbelts. He also alleges that on two occasions he was unconstitutionally assigned to an upper-bunk, and sustained injuries when attempting to access the upper bunk. Additionally, plaintiff alleges he was denied adequate pain medications. Finally, plaintiff alleges that he was retaliated against for filing inmate grievances. On February 29, 2008, plaintiff filed two motions to compel further discovery responses from defendants. On April 25, 2008, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the court grants plaintiff's motion to compel, in part, and denies defendants' motion for summary judgment without prejudice to renewal.

I. Motion to Compel (Docket No. 170)

A. Request for Production to Defendants Runnels, Barnes, Weaver, Robertson, Miranda, Hathaway, Hunt, Witt, Summerhill and Smith

Plaintiff seeks to compel responses to his requests for production nos. 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 20.

In request no.1, plaintiff seeks from each of the above-named defendants, all written statements that contain allegations of their misconduct, ranging from "aggressive behavior" to "morally lax character." In moving to compel this response, plaintiff claims that the information sought would lead to consistent information that relates to the nature of his allegations. However, plaintiff's request is overbroad. For example, he seeks information regarding allegations that any of the defendants wrongfully seized property, yet plaintiff makes similar allegations only as to defendants Miranda and Hathaway. Additionally, rather than seeking allegations that were sustained in some manner, plaintiff seeks any and all allegations of misconduct. Further, plaintiff's request is not limited as to time. Defendants' objection that the request is overbroad is well-taken, and the court will deny the motion as to this request.

In request no. 4, plaintiff requests "copies of the High Desert State Prison computer Automated Bed Vacancy Report" for the dates of June 24-30, 2004 and July 8-10, 2005. Defendants object that the request is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence and that it is overly burdensome. Defendants do not explain, however, why production of an "automated" report is overly burdensome. Furthermore, the information sought is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence because it relates to plaintiff's allegations that he was placed in an upper bunk even though lower bunks were available and defendants were aware of his lower bunk chrono. The court will grant plaintiff's motion as to this request, however, the court will narrow the scope of the request to the Facility B Yard on the dates identified in plaintiff's complaint -- June 28, 2004, June 29, 2004, and July 9, 2005. See Pl.'s Reply (Docket No. 175) at 10.

In request nos. 5, 6 and 7, plaintiff requests the "Housing Roster Report," the "Inmate Daily Movement Sheet," and the "Summary of the Official Count by Watch," for the dates of June 24-30, 2004 and July 8-10, 2005. Defendants object that production of the requested Housing Roster Reports and Inmate Daily Movement Sheets could violate the privacy rights of inmates who were moved to sensitive areas of the prison. Defendants further object that production of the Official Count could jeopardize the safety and security of the institution, as this information is confidential and collected for the purpose of ensuring the safety of the institution. Plaintiff explains that like request no. 4, he seeks this information to support his claim that he was placed in an upper bunk even though lower bunks were available. Request nos. 5-7 are thus duplicative of request no. 4, and are also overbroad. The court will deny plaintiff's motion as to these requests.

In request no. 20, plaintiff requests the ethnicity of every High Desert State Prison ("HDSP") employee for the dates of June 24-30, 2004 and July 8-10, 2005. Plaintiff claims that he is entitled to this information because it is relevant to his allegation that there is racial targeting of African-American inmates at HDSP and many of the employees at HDSP are Caucasian. According to defendants, HDSP employs over 1000 employees. The request would require that defendants conduct a sampling of the ethnicity of all employees for ten different dates from over three years ago. Thus, the request is overly burdensome, and the court will deny plaintiff's motion as to this request.

B. Request for Production to Runnels, Barnes and Spicklemier

Plaintiff seeks to compel responses to his requests for production nos. 2 and 3 to defendants Runnels, Barnes and Spicklemier.

In request no. 2, plaintiff seeks all correspondence from the Warden of HDSP or representatives of the Warden's Office to plaintiff from January 1, 2004 to January 1, 2006. Defendants object that the information sought is overly burdensome because ten to twenty memos can be generated on any given day and plaintiff's request requires a review of daily correspondence for a time period spanning two years. Defendants' objections are well-taken and plaintiff's motion is denied as to this request.

In request no. 3, plaintiff asks for maintenance records for all HDSP "Correctional Treatment Center ("CTC") prisoner transportation (intra-institution) vans" from January 1, 2005 to January 1, 2006. Defendants object that the request is overly broad and burdensome and that they are not in possession, custody, or control of any maintenance records of CTC vans. Plaintiff fails to justify why defendants should be compelled to produce the requested records and his motion is denied as to this request.

C. Request for Production to Weaver

Plaintiff seeks to compel Weaver's responses to his requests for production ...


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