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Cyndie Denny Bock, As Administrator of the Estate of Rodney v. County of Sutter

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


May 13, 2013

CYNDIE DENNY BOCK, AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF RODNEY LOUIS BOCK, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COUNTY OF SUTTER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Presently pending before the court are plaintiffs' motion to compel production of documents and motion to compel an inspection of the Sutter County Jail. (Dkt. Nos. 70, 72.) The parties timely filed their joint statements regarding the motions to compel on April 25, 2013, and May 2, 2013. (Dkt. Nos. 73, 76.)*fn1 At the hearing on the motions conducted on May 9, 2013, Aaron Fischer and Lori Rifkin appeared on behalf of plaintiffs, and John Whitefleet appeared on behalf of defendants.

After considering the parties' joint statements, supporting documentation, and oral arguments, and for the reasons stated at the hearing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiffs' motions to compel (dkt. nos. 70, 72) are GRANTED IN PART along the terms outlined in this order, and as stated in greater detail on the record at the hearing.

2. Within fourteen (14) days of this order, defendant County of Sutter shall produce all personnel and staff development files for defendants McElfresh, Crane, and Rai pursuant to the parties' stipulated protective order.

3. Within fourteen (14) days of this order, defendant County of Sutter shall produce, pursuant to the terms of the parties' stipulated protective order, certain specific personnel file documents for defendants officer Calapini and Dr. Barnett previously withheld by the County of Sutter, in particular (a) for defendant Calapini, the Notice of Hearing and Notice of Termination documents, dated April 4, April 23, May 3, May 21, and June 21, 2012, and (b) for defendant Barnett, the written reprimand dated November 17, 2011.*fn2

4. Within fourteen (14) days of this order, defendant County of Sutter shall conduct a reasonable and diligent search, in appropriate county departments or divisions, for documents that the County of Sutter submitted to or received from the Department of Justice and/or the Sutter County District Attorney related to the death of Rodney Bock, to the extent that such documents are in the possession, custody, or control of the County of Sutter. Within fourteen (14) days of this order, defendant County of Sutter shall also serve on plaintiffs an appropriate declaration stating that such a search was conducted, and produce any responsive documents, along with a privilege log for any withheld documents.

5. Within fourteen (14) days of this order, defendant County of Sutter shall conduct a reasonable and diligent search for, and produce, certain documents identified during deposition testimony and outlined in the parties' joint statement, in particular the "progress note" prepared by Sutter County Jail nurse Nikole Perian and the "training book" identified by Sutter County Jail correctional officer Khushwant Randhawa. If defendant County of Sutter is unable to locate these documents, it shall make a reasonable and diligent inquiry regarding the timing and circumstances of the documents' loss or destruction, and serve on plaintiffs a declaration setting forth the timing and circumstances of the documents' loss or destruction, to the extent it can be ascertained in good faith, within fourteen (14) days of this order.

6. Within 45 days of this order, defendant County of Sutter shall produce all responsive electronic documents (including e-mails and other electronic files), identified by conducting a search with the term "Bock," located on the County of Sutter's system-wide servers, as well as the local hard drives and other County-issued devices of the named defendants and other custodians listed on page 2 of plaintiffs' counsel's March 22, 2013 meet-and-confer letter. (See Dkt. No. 73-1, Ex. P.) Along with the production, defendants' counsel shall provide a privilege log for any withheld privileged documents, except that defendants' counsel need not identify any withheld privileged documents where defendants' counsel is the sender or direct recipient of the communication (as opposed to merely being copied on the correspondence). Along with the production, defendants' counsel shall also provide a short description of the electronic search process conducted, identifying custodians, servers or devices searched, and any special categories of documents that were excluded from the search or production.

7. Plaintiffs' counsel and their experts shall be permitted to conduct an inspection of the Sutter County Jail on May 30, 2013, or any other date agreed to by the parties, for a reasonable period of time along the principles discussed on the record at the hearing. Defendant County of Sutter shall make a person(s) available to answer any routine questions regarding the general operations of the jail to assist plaintiffs' experts with understanding their observations during the inspection. Defendant County of Sutter shall also endeavor to continue normal operations of the jail as much as is reasonably possible during the inspection, allowing plaintiffs' counsel and experts to observe jail operations in the ordinary course of business, but making allowance for any appropriate restrictions or modifications necessitated by good faith security concerns of the jail and jail staff. Defendant County of Sutter may require plaintiffs' counsel and experts to sign standard releases ordinarily required to be executed by other visitors touring the jail.

8. Plaintiffs' request for sanctions is denied without prejudice. The parties are cautioned that future failure to reasonably meet and confer regarding discovery, dilatory conduct, or other discovery abuse by any party may result in the imposition of appropriate sanctions.

9. The parties remain free to stipulate to extensions of the above deadlines, as appropriate, or to agree to a stay of all or some discovery pending the settlement conference.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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