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Al Gene Fisher v. T. Felker

January 5, 2011

AL GENE FISHER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
T. FELKER, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: George Foley, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Motion to Compel (#54)

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for an Order Compelling Discovery (#54), filed August 19, 2010 and Defendants' Opposition to Motion for Order Compelling Discovery (#57), filed September 14, 2010.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Al Fisher alleges that on January 10, 2007 at High Desert State Prison ("HDSP") he was using the toilet in his cell when a corrections officer initiated a search of the cell. (#13 at 5-6). According to the First Amended Complaint, the female corrections officer initiating the search accused Plaintiff of masturbating and reported this to her co-workers. (Id.) In response, Plaintiff states that Sergeant G. Robertson ordered that Plaintiff be handcuffed and removed from his cell. (Id. at 6). Plaintiff alleges that he is an American with Disabilities Act ("ADA") inmate with a mobility impaired sign on his cell door. (#13 at 7). Once he was handcuffed, Robertson allegedly slammed Fisher into a wall face-first and then threatened him. (Id. at 6-7). Correctional Officer Terry Savage then pulled Fisher from the room by the handcuffs and slammed Plaintiff into a wall and pulled upwards on Plaintiff's handcuffed hands, which allegedly injured Plaintiff's back, shoulders, arms and hands. (Id. at 7). Savage allegedly ignored Plaintiff's explanation that he suffered from a chronic back condition.

(Id.) The First Amended Complaint also states that Lieutenant R. Plainer spit in Plaintiff's face and threatened his life while Correctional Officer F. Shelton watched. (Id. at 7-8). Plainer then put Plaintiff into a small containment area where Plaintiff just had room to stand. (Id.) Fisher alleges that he was confined in the small space for about eight (8) hours and that Plainer did not act upon Plaintiff's complaints about standing due to his alleged disability and chronic back pain. (Id. at 8). Plaintiff states that he was eventually transferred to administrative segregation. (Id.)

Four months later, on April 15, 2007, Plaintiff was handcuffed and in the process of transporting his property from administrative segregation by means of a sheet tied around his neck when Correctional Officer W. Hanks allegedly assaulted him. (Id. at 9). Plaintiff states that Hanks pulled the sheet forcefully from Fisher's neck. (Id.) When Fisher complained that he was being choked, Hanks allegedly slammed Plaintiff to the ground and attacked him while Fisher remained handcuffed. (Id.) Based on these actions, Plaintiff claims that Defendants Shelton, Savage, Hanks, Robertson and Plainer violated his Eighth Amendment rights*fn1 by assaulting him and showing deliberate indifference to his welfare. (#13).

DISCUSSION

In the process of discovery, Plaintiff served Defendants with Requests for Production of Documents on May 31, 2010. (#57 at 1). Defendants responded to the discovery requests and asserted various objections. (Id.) The Court will now examine the discovery requests at issue*fn2 and Defendants' responses to determine whether Defendants should be compelled to supplement their responses.

Request for Production No. 1: Objection upheld as overbroad and unduly burdensome. Plaintiff requests that Defendants produce records of any complaints or civil suits filed against Defendants. Defendants object to the request as overbroad. Plaintiff's request is neither limited in time or scope nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. As a result, the request is overbroad and unduly burdensome. See Freeland v. Sacramento City Police Dept., 2009 WL 545994 (E.D.Cal. March 4, 2009) (finding that requests for "any and all" documents, civil rights suits and civil claims is overbroad and unduly burdensome). Therefore the Court will uphold Defendants' objection on the grounds that the request is overbroad. As the Court has upheld this objection, it will not address Defendants' additional objections.

Request for Production No. 5: Denied without prejudice due to Defendants' supplement. Plaintiff requests "[d]ocuments pertaining to training of officers at High Desert Prison concerning conducting counts (institutional counts). And/or the protocol of how to conduct counts." (#57 at 3). Defendants object to the request as compound, vague and ambiguous. The Court agrees that Plaintiff's phrasing is vague and unclear. As a result, the Court will limit the request for production*fn3 to the procedures at HDSP related to the conducting of institutional counts of prisoners. Such a request is limited in scope and reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

However, the Court will not order Defendants to further respond to rephrased request for production no. 5. In responding to Plaintiff's motion to compel (#57), Defendants attached additional documents in order to supplement their discovery responses without waiving their stated objections. Included within these attachments is Department Operations Manual sections 52020.4.1 - 52020.8.10. (#57-3 at 1-16). The disclosure of these operations manual sections would appear to fully respond to request for production no. 5 as limited by the Court. As a result, the Court will deny without prejudice Plaintiff's request and Defendants will not be required to further supplement their response. If after reviewing this order and the defendants' supplement, Plaintiff still seeks additional relevant documents, Plaintiff should request the specific documents from Defendants. As the Court has denied Plaintiff's request without prejudice, it will not address Defendants' objections.

Request for Production No. 7: No further response required.

Plaintiff requests HDSP's administrative logs from January 10, 2007 that document when he was placed in a cell and how long he was kept there. (#57 at 4-5). Defendants object to the request as compound, vague and ambiguous and state that they are not in possession of any responsive documents. (#57 at 4). The Court will not require further response as Defendants have stated that ...


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