United States District Court, E.D. California
DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has
filed this civil rights action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. The matter was referred to this court pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. Â§ 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.
October 12, 2018, plaintiff filed a motion to compel,
regarding his request for production (“RFP”).
(ECF No. 28). On November 2, 2018, defendants filed an
opposition to plaintiff’s motion. (ECF No. 30). For the
reasons stated below, the court shall deny plaintiff’s
motion to compel in its entirety.
October 2, 2015, plaintiff filed a second amended complaint
(“SAC”). (ECF No. 15). In it, plaintiff lodged
claims of retaliation and excessive force against defendant
Chenoweth. (See id. at 10-11; see also ECF
No. 18 at 5 (court identifying viable claims made by
asserts that in June 2011, Chenoweth retaliated against
plaintiff in violation of his rights when he told plaintiff
that if he went to the law library, he would be written up
with a rule violation report. (See ECF No. 15 at
10). Thereafter, plaintiff was denied law library privileges
for months until a February 2012 court order directed the
prison to give plaintiff access to the law library. (See
id. at 10-11).
filed their answer on June 7, 2018, and on July 6, 2018, a
discovery and scheduling order issued. (ECF Nos. 24, 25). The
instant motion to compel was filed on October 12, 2018 (ECF
No. 28), and on November 2, 2018, defendants filed their
opposition. (ECF No. 30). The motion is fully briefed and
ready for review.
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL
motion states that Chenoweth failed to fully produce
information regarding his alleged prior misconduct.
(See ECF No. 28 at 1-3). Plaintiff asserts that this
information is relevant and/or admissible because it may show
that Chenoweth had a motive to be hostile to prisoners and/or
had the intent to harm prisoners who are outspoken. (See
id. at 2-3). Plaintiff asserts that this information may
also show that Chenoweth acted with the requisite intent to
support a damage award. (See id. at 3, 6). He
contends that the fact that such information was not public
record does not protect it from discovery under federal law.
(See id. at 6).
asserts that his need for this is compelling and outweighs
the policies favoring secrecy. (See ECF No. 28 at
5). Also, to the extent that High Desert State Prison’s
(“HDSP”) personnel manager, S. Campbell has also
asserted a “self-critical analysis”
privilege, plaintiff argues that it should be given
limited application and not be applicable to underlying facts
or routine internal review of matters related to safety
concerns. (See id. at 5).
motion objects to the declaration of personnel manager S.
Campbell, which asserts the official information privilege in
support of defendants’ responses to plaintiff’s
requests for production. (ECF No. 28 at 1). Plaintiff
contends that when asserting the privilege, Campbell is
obligated to prove that the information requested is, in
fact, privileged. (See id. at 2).
plaintiff complains that manager Campbell asserts in his
declaration that plaintiff’s pro se and prisoner status
prevent him from producing the requested information. If so,
plaintiff’s prisoner status makes it
“impossible” to take discovery adequately.
(See ECF No. 28 at 7). Consequently, plaintiff asks
the court to appoint counsel for him for the limited purpose
of discovery. (See id. at 7).
response, defendants state that plaintiff has failed to
identify which of Chenoweth’s responses are
problematic. (ECF No. 30 at 2). Nonetheless, defendants infer
that plaintiff takes issue with Chenoweth’s responses
to RFPs, numbers 1, 4, and 6. (See ECF No. 30 at
make the following arguments: (1) Chenoweth has identified
each specific objection and the reasoning behind it; (2)
Chenoweth has asserted the official information privilege and
in support of it, has submitted the requisite declaration;
(3) some of plaintiff’s requests – e.g., the ones
that request information regarding prior or subsequent
“assaults” by Chenoweth, – are too
ambiguous; (4) other requests – e.g., ones in which
plaintiff requests documents indicating that Chenoweth
misused force in the past – are irrelevant because they
are inadmissible to the extent they would be used to impeach
defendant Chenoweth’s character; (5) grievances and
complaints filed against Chenoweth would be more prejudicial
than probative as inmates’ claims are subjective and
not necessarily substantiated; (6) it is unclear how
plaintiff will utilize the documents, and their potential
distribution to the inmate population could lead to Chenoweth
being targeted; (7) plaintiff’s request(s) cover a wide
range of documents and information over a period of six years
and plaintiff has not indicated why any of it would be
relevant to his action; (8) plaintiff has already received
some of the information requested – e.g., information
regarding Chenoweth’s training – via
production of similar information in document form would be
duplicative, and (9) the production of the responsive
documents plaintiff has requested, would have to be heavily
redacted in order to avoid giving plaintiff any sensitive
information about Chenoweth. (See ECF No. 30 at