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Ransom v. Herrera

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 3, 2018

LEONARD RANSOM, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
DANNY HERRERA and RICKY BRANNUM, Defendants.

          ORDER REGARDING K. HOLLAND'S MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA, OR ALTERNATIVELY, ISSUE PROTECTIVE ORDER, (ECF NO. 121)

         Leonard Ransom, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now proceeding “on Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (ECF No. 72), against defendants Brannum and Herrera on Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claim, Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process claim under Devereaux, retaliation claim, section 1983 malicious prosecution claim, and conspiracy claim.” (ECF No. 77, p. 2).

         Plaintiff's complaint stems from the allegation that defendants falsely accused Plaintiff of assaulting an officer, which resulted in a criminal case against Plaintiff and a rules violation report. These claims were eventually dismissed over two year later. However, the false claims against Plaintiff resulted in substantial time in administrative segregation, a criminal case against Plaintiff, denial of parole, and delay of the next opportunity for parole for ten years.

         The present motion is non-party K. Holland's motion to quash a subpoena by Plaintiff asking for, among other things, correspondence indicating that he was kept in administrative segregation because of the false report at issue in this case. (ECF No. 121)

         I. The Parties' Positions on K. Holland's Subpoena

         The briefing on this motion is lengthy and the Court will not summarize every statement here.

         Plaintiffs subpoena seeks the following documents:

• Documents and electronic messages “with any employee of CDCR, at Kern Valley State Prison, ” regarding RVR Log#FB-09-03-003, from “March 29, 2011 through October 31, 2011;”
• “All notes, memorandums, e-mails, text messages, or any tangible form of communication between K. Holland and E. Stelter, at CCI, regarding the retention, or release, of Plaintiff… in Administrative Segregation, during the period of March 29, 2011 through November 1, 2011;”
• “Specific Operational procedures for California Correctional Institution, for inmate placement in administrative segregation, movement, law library, placement in management cells, recreation yard procedure, and description of yard, law library, medical cages, utilization, and application of mechanical restraints for inmates ho[u]sed in administrative segregation, for the time period of March 29, 2011 through November 1, 2011;”
• “Any existing videot[a]pes, photographs, schematics, measurements, and descriptions of cells 4A-6A-203, and 4A-8A-102, and 103, at CCI, from the time period of March 29, 2011, through November 1, 2011.”

(ECF No. 121-2, pgs. 4-5).

         On March 1, 2018, K. Holland moved to quash Plaintiffs subpoena on the following grounds: (1) it was improperly served at Kern Valley State Prison, although K. Holland worked at another prison, CCI; (2) the subpoena lacked a signature by a clerk or attorney; (3) the information sought is not relevant because it does not describe what defendants themselves did; (4) the subpoena provides an inadequate time to respond; (5) the information sought is privileged to the extent it requests operational procedures (if the Court grants Plaintiffs subpoena requests, Warden Duffy requests that the Court conduct an in camera review of the requested documents before their disclosure to Plaintiff). (ECF No. 121-1)

         The Court addressed this motion during a hearing on April 4, 2018. During that hearing, Plaintiff explained his understanding that K. Holland worked at CCI when Plaintiff was confined there, after the allegedly false report was filed against Plaintiff. At some point in time, K. Holland corresponded with prison officials at his prior institution, Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP), regarding whether Plaintiff should remain in administrative segregation. KVSP officials told K. Holland of the rules violation report at issue in this case and as a result Plaintiff was improperly kept in administrative segregation at CCI. Plaintiff claims that this information is relevant to establish his damages, i.e. what harm he suffered as a result of Defendants filing false charges against him even though he was eventually exonerated of those charges. Defendants claimed that the information was not relevant so long as Defendants themselves did not make the decision to confine him in Administrative Segregation as a result of their false charges.

         The parties expanded on these positions in Plaintiff's opposition (ECF No. 137), and K. ...


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