United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR UNREDACTED HOUSING ROSTER (ECF No.
MICHAEL J. SENG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1983. The action proceeds on Plaintiff's Eighth
Amendment excessive force claim against Defendants Cope,
Gonzales, Lozano, Smith, and Stane, and on a Fourteenth
Amendment due process claim against Defendant Crounse.
the Court is Plaintiff's May 5, 2017 motion seeking
disclosure of an unredacted inmate housing roster. (ECF No.
109.) Defendants filed an opposition. (ECF No. 113.)
Plaintiff filed a reply. (ECF No. 118.) In addition, the
Court ordered Defendants to submit the unredacted roster to
the Court in camera. (ECF Nos. 115, 117.) The matter is
submitted. Local Rule 230(l).
Basis for Plaintiff's Motion
April 5, 2017, the Court granted in part and denied in part
Plaintiff's motion to compel. (ECF No. 102.) Therein, the
Court ruled, in relevant part, as follows:
Request No. 30 seeks the inmate housing roster for
Plaintiff's housing unit for the date of the incident at
issue in this case. Defendants objected to this request on
grounds of confidentiality, safety and security, and third
party privacy. The declaration submitted by Defendants in
support of their privilege log addressed only the defendant
officers' confidential information; it articulated no
basis for withholding the inmate housing roster. In their
opposition to the motion to compel, Defendants cite only to
generalized concerns regarding the release of confidential
inmate information to other inmates.
This declaration is insufficient to support Defendants'
claim of privilege. Additionally, the only asserted basis for
maintaining the confidentially of these documents is state
law concerning confidentiality and privacy. The Court finds
these justifications unpersuasive grounds for withholding
discovery. Moreover, the Court concludes that a roster of
inmates housed on Plaintiff's unit at the time the
incident occurred may be relevant and necessary for the
identification of potential inmate witnesses. There appears
to be no alternative means available to Plaintiff to obtain
this information. Accordingly, the Court concludes that the
housing roster must be produced to Plaintiff.
However, to the extent the roster contains confidential
inmate information beyond the inmate's first initial,
last name, and CDCR number, such information may be redacted,
without prejudice to Plaintiff seeking disclosure of the
redacted information upon a showing of good cause.
(ECF No. 102 at 5.)
redacted the inmates' cell numbers from the housing
roster and provided the roster to Plaintiff. (See
ECF Nos. 109, 113.) Plaintiff now moves for disclosure of the
cell numbers on the ground that he is unable to identify the
inmate witnesses he is trying to locate. Plaintiff states
that he knows only where the inmates lived, not their names
or CDCR numbers. (ECF No. 109.) Thus, a list of names and
CDCR numbers is of essentially no use.
contend that their redaction of the cell numbers is in
compliance with the Court's order which, according to
Defendants, allowed them to redact “confidential
information.” (ECF No. 113 at 1.) Defendants also
contend that release of cell numbers to Plaintiff will
jeopardize institutional safety and security. More
specifically, the cell numbers will allow Plaintiff, a known
member of a security threat group, to identify individuals
that did not assist him during the excessive force incident,
and to then retaliate against those individuals. Defendants
submit a declaration in support of withholding cell numbers
based on these concerns.
claims that, without the cell information, he will be unable
to identify the witnesses and thus is unable to subpoena them
for trial. Plaintiff also states that Defendants'
security concerns are without merit. First, Plaintiff
contends that some of the inmates he seeks are of a different
race and/or were in their cells at the time of the incident.
Thus, they could not or would not have come to his aid.
Second, Plaintiff points out that two fellow inmates were in
the vicinity of the incident and did not come to his aid.
These inmates were identified in incident reports provided to
Plaintiff and they also were his co-defendants in a criminal
trial arising out of this incident. However, in the four
years since the incident occurred, these two inmates have not
been subject to any reprisals for failing to assist
Plaintiff. (ECF No. 118.)
Court begins by noting that Defendants' redaction of
inmate cell numbers is not in compliance with the Court's
order on the motion to compel. The Court allowed Defendants
to redact “confidential inmate information, ” not
whatever information the Defendants considered confidential.
Indeed, the Court expressly rejected Defendants' general
assertions with regard to confidentiality. Although
“confidential inmate information” was not defined