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Morris v. Hickison

June 12, 2009

ROBERT MORRIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
D. HICKISON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is plaintiff's motion to compel and for sanctions filed March 5, 2009 (court file doc. 56). On March 5, 2009, plaintiff separately filed copies of the at-issue discovery requests and responses (court file doc. 57). On April 17, 2009, defendants filed an opposition (court file doc. 61). Also pending is plaintiff's March 5, 2009, motion to extend the discovery cut-off (court file doc. 55).

After carefully reviewing the record, the court orders that plaintiff's motion to extend the discovery cut-off is denied. Plaintiff's motion to compel is denied in part and vacated in part.

Background

To put plaintiff's motion in context, the court will describe the claims on which this action is proceeding. This action is proceeding on the original complaint filed December 29, 2006, as to defendants Hickison, Fry and Herrera.*fn1

Plaintiff alleges that on May 18 or 19, 2005, defendant Hickison made sexually inappropriate comments to him at his prison job. Plaintiff also alleges that defendant Hickison rubbed and touched his back. On May 24, 2005, defendant Hickison started yelling at inmate workers to get the carts out and take them to the building. Plaintiff told defendant's supervisor that this could not be done. Defendant Hickison told plaintiff that she would write him a chrono and give him an "A" day. She did not say that she was going to file a rules violation report against him.

On May 24, 2005, defendant Hickison was informed that plaintiff was going to file a staff complaint against her based on the sexual harassment. On May 25, 2005, defendant Hickison retaliated against plaintiff for his threat to file the staff complaint by dismissing him from his job and writing a false rules violation report. Plaintiff was later found not guilty of the rules violation report.

Plaintiff alleges that on June 20, 2005, defendants Fry and Herrera retaliated against plaintiff for pursuing his staff complaint against defendant Hickison by putting him in administrative segregation (ad seg). On August 12, 2005, defendant Fry retaliated against plaintiff again by placing a negative chrono in his C-file. Plaintiff was later transferred to a different prison.

As legal claims, plaintiff alleges that defendant Hickison violated his Eighth Amendment rights by sexually harassing him. Plaintiff also alleges that defendant retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights.

Discussion

The motion to compel concerns defendants' responses to requests for production of documents, interrogatories and requests for admissions.

Requests for Production of Documents-Herrera and Hickison

Plaintiff alleges that defendants Herrera and Hickison failed to provide any documents in response to the requests for production of documents. However, plaintiff makes no argument regarding any specific objection made by defendants to the requests. Rather, he generally argues that "the majority of defendants' responses...are evasive and as such are deemed by law to be a failure." Motion to Compel, p. 4.

In the opposition, defendants argue that the motion to compel should be denied because plaintiff failed to articulate any specific justification or reason to support the motion to compel, except for his generalized statements set forth above. Defendants go on to address why their responses to each of the requests were appropriate.

In his May 5, 2009, reply to defendants' opposition, plaintiff lists each of the nine requests for production of documents made to defendants. He again argues that defendants failed to produce a single document. Plaintiff contends that their claim that they no longer have possession, custody or control over any documents is disingenuous. However, defendants did not raise this objection as to each of the nine requests for ...


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