Cochran v. Johnson et al
ORDER denying 33 Plaintiff's First Motion to Compel; granting 42 Plaintiff's Second Motion to Compel. Signed by Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray on 10/01/2012. (kcs)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
RODERICK E. JOHNSON, Lieutenant;
and RAYMOND GRIFFITH, Sergeant,
Arkansas Department of Correction
Plaintiff, James Cochran, alleges that Defendant Johnson used excessive force
against him at the Varner Super Max Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction.
See docket entry #2. Specifically, Plaintiff contends that on April 14, 2011, at
approximately 11:15 p.m., Defendant Johnson entered Plaintiff’s cell, shoved him
down on his rack, and punched him several times in the face and back. Id. Defendant
Johnson, and two other correctional officers, then escorted Plaintiff to the Isolation
#4 shower area. Id. When they arrived, Defendant Johnson allegedly pushed Plaintiff
into the back of the shower wall causing Plaintiff to hit his head and become
Plaintiff has filed two Motions to Compel, which the Court will address
I. Plaintiff’s First Motion to Compel
On July 19, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel seeking permission to
review the security camera footage taken outside of his cell and the Isolation #4
shower area, on April 14, 2011, from 11:00 p.m. to 11:25 p.m. See docket entry #33.
Defendants have timely filed a sealed copy of that footage and a sealed Brief
explaining the specific security concerns that prevent them from allowing Plaintiff to
see that footage. See docket entries #35 and #41.
The sealed footage shows the hallways outside of Plaintiff’s cell and the
Isolation #4 shower area. See docket entry #41. In particular, it shows: (1) who
entered Plaintiff’s cell and the Isolation #4 shower area; (2) how long they were there;
and (3) Plaintiff’s physical condition when he entered and exited those areas.1
However, the footage does not show what occurred inside Plaintiff’s cell or the
Isolation #4 shower area. Thus, it has marginal relevance, which is clearly outweighed
by the legitimate security concerns created by allowing Plaintiff to see it at this time.
Finally, and most importantly, Defendants state that they do not intend to include the
footage in any dispositive motions.
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s First Motion to Compel is denied, at this time.
It does not appear from footage, which is somewhat blurry, that Plaintiff had
any noticeable physical injuries.
However, if this case proceeds beyond the filing of any dispositive motions, the Court
will appoint counsel to represent Plaintiff. At that point, Defendants will have to
provide a copy of the footage to Plaintiff’s attorney.
II. Plaintiff’s Second Motion to Compel
On July 23, 2012, Plaintiff sent Interrogatories to separate Defendant Griffith.
See docket entry #42, Ex. 1. On August 20, 2012, Assistant Attorney General Sullivan
sent Plaintiff a letter explaining that Defendant Griffith needed additional time to
prepare his Answers because Mr. Sullivan was going to withdraw as his attorney of
On August 28, 2012, Mr. Sullivan filed his Motion to Withdraw. See docket
entry #36. On August 30, 2012, the Court entered an Order holding that Motion in
abeyance until Defendant Griffith either: (1) had a new attorney enter an appearance
on his behalf; or (2) filed a Statement indicating that he wished to represent himself.
See docket entry #38.
As of the date of this Order, Defendant Griffith has not taken either course of
action. Thus, Mr. Sullivan remains his attorney of record.
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Second Motion to Compel is granted. Mr. Sullivan
must, within fourteen days of the entry of this Order, provide Plaintiff with
Defendant Griffith’s answers to the July 23, 2012 Interrogatories.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT:
Plaintiff’s First Motion to Compel (docket entry #33) is DENIED, AT
Plaintiff’s Second Motion to Compel (docket entry #42) is GRANTED.
Dated this 1st day of October, 2012.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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