Obamas et al v. Nance et al
ORDER denying 11 Plaintiff's Motion to Stay; denying 25 Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Expert Witness; denying 28 Plaintiff's Motion for Issuance of Subpoenas; and granting 21 Defendants' Motion to Take Deposition from Plaintiff. Signed by Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray on 08/25/2014. (kcs)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
DR. MELVIN NANCE,
Grimes Unit, ADC, et al.
Pending before the Court are several motions. Specifically, Plaintiff Jack
Freeman has filed a Motion to Stay Case (Doc. 11), a Motion for Expert Witness (Doc.
25), and a Motion for Issuance of Subpoenas (Doc. 28).1 For their part, Defendants
have filed a Motion to take Deposition from Plaintiff (Doc. 21). The Court will address
each in turn.
I. Motion to Stay Case
Pursuant to his Motion to Stay Case, Plaintiff seeks to place all proceedings “on
hold” due to his placement on suicide watch. Doc. 11 at 1. He states that as a result of
his placement on suicide watch, he has been denied access to a pen and paper. Id.
Defendants have filed a Response (Doc. 23), wherein they argue that since filing his
Plaintiff has also filed a Motion to Stay Transfer (Doc. 20) seeking to prevent his transfer to
another unit until after this action is resolved. As this motion implicates preliminary injunctive relief,
the Court must address it in a separate recommendation to the district judge.
Motion to Stay Case, Plaintiff has filed additional pleadings, indicating that he retains
access to pen and paper. Doc 23 ¶ 3. Defendants also state that they have contacted the
Health Services Administrator at the Ouachita River Unit where Plaintiff is housed and
determined that he is no longer on suicide watch. Doc 23 ¶ 4.
The docket corroborates Defendants’ arguments. Plaintiff has submitted nine
filings since his Motion to Stay Case. It appears that he is capable of litigating this
action and that a stay is unnecessary at this time. In light of the foregoing, the Court
finds that Plaintiff’s Motion to Stay Case should be denied.
II. Motion for Expert Witness
Plaintiff seeks appointment of an expert witness in order to prove his allegations
that the Defendants’ provided treatment failed to meet professional standards. Doc. 25
at 1. Plaintiff also contends that an expert witness would enable him to prove that
denying him unspecified medication caused him unnecessary pain and suffering. Id.
Regardless of the potential usefulness of an expert witness to Plaintiff’s case,
no civil litigant, even an indigent one, has a legal right to such assistance at government
expense. See Brown v. United States, 74 Fed. Appx. 611, 614-615 (7th Cir. 2003)
(“Brown seeks to compel the government to bear the cost of and responsibility for
hiring an expert witness to testify on his behalf in order to establish a fundamental
element of his case. However, no civil litigant, even an indigent one, has a legal right
to such aid”). As such, the Court finds it appropriate to deny Plaintiff’s Motion for
III. Motion for Issuance of Subpoenas
Plaintiff asks the Court to issue subpoenas for the purpose of obtaining witness
statements from several individual who are not a party to this action. Doc. 28 at 1.
Plaintiff further asks for subpoenas which would permit him to obtain “medical
records, witness statements, and other documentation” which he alleges that
Defendants have on record and whose production they have objected to. Id.
The Court declines to issue subpoenas at this time. First, the subpoena of
witnesses is premature. As the Court noted in its Initial Order for Pro Se Prisoners
(Doc. 3), the Court will ask for a witness list when the case is set for trial and the trial
date approaches. Doc 3 at 2. There is not yet a scheduled hearing at which the
testimony of witnesses will be necessary.
Second, Plaintiff requests subpoenas in order to obtain production of certain
documents which Defendants have objected to. This is improper. If the parties dispute
whether certain documents should be produced they must first confer in good faith
pursuant to Local Rule 7.2(g). Then, if the parties are unable to reach agreement,
Plaintiff may put the matter before the Court in the form of a motion to compel. In so
doing, Plaintiff should provide evidence that he has first conferred with Defendants
in good faith.
Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s Motion for Issuance of
Subpoenas should be denied at this time.
IV. Motion to Take Deposition from Plaintiff
Finally, the Court turns to Defendants’ Motion to Take Deposition (Doc. 21)
from Plaintiff. The Court concludes that good cause exists to grant Defendants’ Motion
in its entirety. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 30 (a)(2).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT:
Plaintiff’s Motion to Stay Case (Doc. 11) is DENIED.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Expert Witness (Doc. 25) is DENIED.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Subpoenas (Doc. 28) is DENIED.
Defendants’ Motion to Take Deposition from Plaintiff (Doc. 21) is
Dated this 25th day of August, 2014.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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