The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justin L. Quackenbush Senior United States District Judge
ORDER RE: DISCOVERY MOTIONS, SCHEDULING, AND DISPOSITIVE MOTION PRACTICE
BEFORE THE COURT is Defendant's Motion for Protective Order (ECF No. 126). Plaintiff has responded to this Motion with his own Motion Concerning Disclosure of Documents (ECF No. 130). Plaintiff has also filed a Motion for Additional Time (ECF No. 127); another Motion to Compel (ECF No. 128); and a Motion to Appoint Counsel and for Sanctions (ECF No. 129). Defendant has responded in opposition to the request for sanctions. ECF No. 131.
The remaining claims in this case involve two claims of retaliation in violation of the First Amendment. First, Plaintiff alleges that on or about July 15, 2006, Defendant Hernandez retaliated against Plaintiff by filing a false report that Plaintiff had threatened to stab her with a pair of scissors. Plaintiff claims the Defendant's motivation to retaliate against him was in part due to her relationship with three other inmates, whom Plaintiff had filed a grievances about, claiming that Hernandez was "overly familiar" with them. Plaintiff claims that just days before the alleged retaliation took place, as a result of his filing the earlier grievance, all three inmates were moved out of their assigned housing. These inmates were Johnny Cordova, Raymond Perez, and "Rickie" Valenzuela. As a result of Defendant's reporting of the alleged fabricated threat, Plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation for over 6 months and lost his job as a prison barber.
Second, Plaintiff alleges that in February 2008, after he filed this lawsuit, Defendant Hernandez requested (and was granted) reassignment to his housing facility and then lodged a threat assessment against him to retaliate against him for the lawsuit. Plaintiff asserts the lodging of the threat assessment resulted in his housing reassignment and the loss of his job as a prison library porter.
The court denied Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on September 23, 2011, in part, because of the meager record. The only evidence in support of summary judgment filed by the Defendant were three documents: her own declaration, a Confidential Information Disclosure Form dated July 15, 2006, and a declaration of the CDCR records custodian. The court ordered the Defendant and the Warden of the Mule Creek State Prison to "immediately produce" relevant documentary evidence. Despite the mandate, it has been necessary for the court to enter three subsequent discovery orders regarding the Defendant's production of relevant discovery. ECF No. 106; 110; 119.
The current motion concerns four types of documents located by the Defendant pursuant to the court's latest discovery order. The Defendant was required to produce these documents no later than February 21, 2012 or alternatively, file an appropriate motion if there were grounds for objection. ECF No. 119. On February 21, 2012, Defendant filed the current Motion for Protective Order.
Ordinarily, the purpose of a protective order is to preclude disclosure of confidential or privileged information to any person or entity not subject to the litigation. Defendant's Motion does not seek an order restricting dissemination of the information, but rather seeks an order allowing redaction of the documents prior to their disclosure, or alternatively, for permission to withhold the information on the basis that it is irrelevant to the case.
Redaction of otherwise discoverable documents is a burdensome mechanism used only in limited circumstances because a producing party is ordinarily not harmed by producing irrelevant information. The court has reviewed the proposed redactions carefully to determine whether release of the information could jeopardize the safety or security of inmates or the institution.
A. General Chrono Dated February 25, 2008 is Irrelevant
Rule 26 allows a party to obtain discovery that is relevant to any party's claim or defense. The court ordered Defendant to locate and produce "all documents regarding Plaintiff's placement in administrative segregation in 2008." ECF No. 199 at 5. The General Chrono dated February 25, 2008 concerns Plaintiff's statements as to whether he could coexist with another inmate. The document has nothing to do with any of the contentions in this case. Accordingly, Defendant is not required to produce that document.
B. Prison Log Books for the Ad-Seg Unit for July 15-17, 2006
Defendant has provided to the court undredacted administrative segregation log book pages for July 15-17, 2006. The document contains discoverable information concerning Plaintiff and Cordova's assignment to ad seg (at pages 9, 15, 19, 26, and 29). Defendant proposes to redact the inmate identification numbers and cell numbers of all inmates, except Plaintiff.
The only way to verify that the "Cordova" listed on the document is the Cordova Plaintiff claims acted with the Defendant to concoct the false threat allegation, is by inmate identification number. This number is evidenced throughout the record and is already known to the Plaintiff. The Defendant has not shown that the disclosure of this information presents any safety or security concern. Accordingly, Defendant shall not redact Cordova's inmate identification number.
Further, there is also no apparent safety or security concern posed by disclosure of the cell numbers as they ...