Lombardelli v. Halsey, et al.

Filing 84

ORDER Denying Plaintiff's 65 Motion to Compel; ORDER Granting in Part Plaintiff's 68 Motion to Compel signed by Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Beck on 02/08/2012. (Flores, E)

Download PDF
1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 ALFRED C. LOMBARDELLI, 7 Plaintiff, 8 9 CASE NO. 1:08-CV-00658-AWI-DLB PC ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL (DOC. 65) v. ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL (DOC. 68) K. HALSEY, et al., 10 Defendants. / 11 12 Plaintiff Alfred C. Lombardelli (“Plaintiff”) is a prisoner in the custody of the California 13 Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in 14 forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action is proceeding 15 against Defendants E. Ortiz, S. Smyth, I. Sanchez, K. Halsey, K. Carter, and R. Vogel. Pending 16 before the Court are: 1) Plaintiff’s motion to compel, filed November 4, 2011, and 2) Plaintiff’s 17 motion to compel, filed December 2, 2011. Defendants filed their oppositions on December 8, 18 2011. Plaintiff filed his reply on December 21, 2011 and January 3, 2012. The matter is 19 submitted pursuant to Local Rule 230(l). Prior to discussing the merits of the motions to compel, 20 the Court will briefly summarize Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants from the second amended 21 complaint. 22 I. Summary Of Second Amended Complaint 23 Plaintiff was a member of the Men’s Advisory Council at Corcoran State Prison. Pl.’s 24 Am. Compl. ¶ 14. On July 2, 2006, Plaintiff filed a request for disclosure of public records, to 25 which he received no response from the public information officer. Id. ¶ 15. Plaintiff then filed 26 an inmate grievance concerning his request, and filed a petition in Kings County Superior Court. 27 Id. ¶¶ 16, 19. Plaintiff was threatened by Defendant Ortiz and Halsey, warning him to cease his 28 petitions, to which Plaintiff then filed an inmate grievance. Id. ¶¶ 18, 19. On February 7, 2007, 1 1 Defendant Halsey cut Plaintiff’s wrists and caused his hands to go numb by placing him in 2 handcuffs that were too tight for several hours. Id. ¶ 20. Defendant Vogel conspired with Haley 3 by falsifying a log book to shorten the amount of time that Plaintiff occupied a holding cell. Id. 4 On February 7, 2007, Defendant Halsey shouted “You’re a rat” to Plaintiff in front of the other 5 inmates. Id. ¶ 21. On February 14, 2007, Defendant Ortiz issued Plaintiff a false rules violation 6 report, number 3C-07-02-014, for behavior that could lead to violence. Id. ¶ 22. Defendant 7 Halsey conspired with Defendant Ortiz to falsely charge Plaintiff with rules violation report 8 number 3C-07-02-014. Id. Defendant Halsey caused Plaintiff to be removed from his job by 9 having him transferred to another building. Id. 10 After March 12, 2007, Defendant Halsey continued to tell inmates that Plaintiff was a rat 11 and snitch. Id.¶ 24. Defendant Halsey confiscated a religious book from Plaintiff Id. ¶ 25. On 12 April 10, 2007, Defendants Halsey, Hebron, and Vogel conspired to falsely charge Plaintiff with 13 battery. Id. ¶ 26. Defendant Vogel conspired to withhold an investigative report from Plaintiff. 14 Id. ¶¶ 28-29. On March 4, 2008, Defendant Halsey threatened to “shoot Plaintiff and place him 15 back in the hole” Id. ¶ 31. Defendant Smyth falsely accused Plaintiff of refusing a direct order 16 on July 13, 2008. Id. ¶ 32. Defendant Carter falsely accused Plaintiff of behavior which could 17 lead to violence during a cell search on July 25, 2008. Id. ¶ 34. Defendants Carter and Sanchez 18 conspired to file a false report for threatening a peace officer against Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 35. Plaintiff 19 requested as relief compensatory and punitive damages, and cost of suit. 20 II. November 4, 2011 Motion 21 Plaintiff moves to compel further response to his requests that Defendants produce “all 22 staff complaints, including inmate, staff, and civilian grievances, complaints, and appeals, and 23 including responses to such documents prepared by Corcoran State Prison staff or their agents 24 concerning all defendants.” Pl.’s Mot. Compel 1. Plaintiff attaches his Requests For Production 25 Of Documents served on Defendants Carter, Halsey, Ortiz, Sanchez, Smyth, and Vogel. The 26 Court presumes that Plaintiff seeks to compel further response to Request No. 4, Set One, served 27 on Defendants E. Ortiz, S. Smyth, I. Sanchez, K. Halsey, and K. Carter, and Request No. 5, Set 28 One, served on Defendant R. Vogel, as those discovery requests correspond to Plaintiff’s request 2 1 in his motion to compel. 2 Defendants’ responses were: 3 16 Defendants object to this request on the grounds that it is vague, overbroad, burdensome, not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, and calls for information that is protected by the right of privacy. Furthermore, the request may call for documents expressly exempted from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act or information protected by California Penal Code § 832.7, California Evidence Code § 1040, federal common law privilege, the federal official information privilege, and the federal privacy act. Finally, Defendants object that the term “inmate, staff, and civilian grievances, complaints, and appeals” is vague. Each year, inmates at California State Prison Corcoran file several thousand Inmate Appeal CDC 602 forms, and these grievances and staff complaints are not stored or categorized by the name of the correctional staff involved. Instead, the grievances and staff complaints are stored in the central file of the filing inmate or the prison appeals office, where they are categorized by the name of the filing inmate. Moreover, the scope of Plaintiff’s request appears to extend beyond the retention schedule of the appeals office. Thus, Plaintiff is asking Defendants to: (1) identify all of the inmate incarcerated at California State Prison Corcoran during the course of employment of every Defendant; (2) obtain all of the grievances filed by all of those inmates; and (3) review every grievance to assess whether it concerns any Defendant. Without waiving these objections and assuming that Plaintiff requesting every “Inmate Appeal Form CDC 602” filed against any Defendant during their employment at California State Prison Corcoran, Defendants respond as follows: Without waiving these objections, the documents responsive to this request are attached as Exhibit B. After conducting a reasonable search, Defendant does not have possession, custody, or control over any additional documents responsive to this request. 17 Plaintiff contends that Exhibit B is composed of Plaintiff’s own inmate grievances. Pl.’s 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 18 Mot. Compel 3. Plaintiff contends that Defendants’ arguments regarding the filing system are 19 insufficient, as Plaintiff should not be denied relevant documents because of Defendants’ 20 inefficient filing system. Id. Plaintiff also contends that this information is not privileged. Id. at 21 3-4. 22 Plaintiff contends that he is aware of excessive force complaints against Defendants 23 Vogel and Halsey. Id. at 4. Plaintiff is also aware of Defendant Ortiz having been arrested and 24 removed as an officer for petty theft. Id. Plaintiff is also aware of several complaints against 25 Defendants Smyth and Carter for the same conduct as described in the complaint. Id. Plaintiff 26 acknowledges that evidence used to prove the character of a person in order to show action in 27 conformity. Id. (citing Fed. R. Evid. 404(a)). However, he contends admissibility to 28 demonstrate knowledge, intent, or motive. Id. (citing Fed. R. Evid. 404(b)). 3 1 Defendants contend that searching for other grievances would be unduly burdensome, and 2 marginally relevant. Def.’s Opp’n 3-4. Defendants contend that they have properly responded to 3 Plaintiff’s request. Id. at 5-8. 4 A party may be ordered to produce a document in the possession of a non-party entity if 5 that party has a legal right to obtain the document or has control over the entity who is in 6 possession of the document. Soto v. City of Concord, 162 F.R.D. 603, 620 (N.D. Cal. 1995). As 7 this Court explained in Allen v. Woodford, 2007, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11026, *4-6, 2007 WL 8 309945, *2 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 30, 2007) (internal citations and quotations omitted): 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Property is deemed within a party’s possession, custody, or control if the party has actual possession, custody, or control thereof or the legal right to obtain the property on demand. A party having actual possession of documents must allow discovery even if the documents belong to someone else; legal ownership of the documents is not determinative. Control need not be actual control; courts construe it broadly as the legal right to obtain documents upon demand. Legal right is evaluated in the context of the facts of each case. The determination of control is often fact specific. Central to each case is the relationship between the party and the person or entity having actual possession of the document. The requisite relationship is one where a party can order the person or entity in actual possession of the documents to release them. This position of control is usually the result of statute, affiliation or employment. Control may be established by the existence of a principal-agent relationship. 16 Such documents also include documents under the control of the party’s attorney. Meeks v. 17 Parson, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90283, 2009 WL 3303718 (E.D. Cal. September 18, 2009) 18 (involving a subpoena to the CDCR); Axler v. Scientific Ecology Group, Inc., 196 F.R.D. 210, 19 212 (D. Mass. 2000) (A “party must product otherwise discoverable documents that are in his 20 attorneys’ possession, custody or control.”); Gray v. Faulkner, 148 F.R.D. 220, 223 (N.D. Ill. 21 1992); see also Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15, § 3370(e) (“No case records file, unit health records, or 22 component thereof shall be released to any agency or person outside the department, except for 23 private attorneys hired to represent the department, the office of the attorney general, the Board 24 of Parole Hearings, the Inspector General, and as provided by applicable federal and state law.”). 25 Parties are not required to produce discovery if it would be unduly burdensome. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 26(b)(2)(C). 27 28 Plaintiff clarifies in his motion to compel that he seeks complaints filed against Defendant Ortiz for her petty theft conviction, and against Defendants Smyth and Carter for 4 1 conduct alleged in the complaint. Pl.’s Mot. Compel 4. Plaintiff seeks complaints against 2 Defendant Vogel, contending that Defendant Vogel broke an unmate’s wrist sixteen months ago. 3 Id. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Halsey has several complaints against him for the conduct 4 described in the complaint. Id. 5 Having reviewed the record and the parties’ arguments, the Court finds that Plaintiff’s 6 motion to compel should be denied. Plaintiff’s discovery request, as presented to Defendants, is 7 far too broad in scope. This incident concerned very specific events from 2007 to 2008. 8 Furthermore, the alleged incident involving Defendant Vogel sixteen months ago does not 9 demonstrate a motive or intent to harm Plaintiff in 2007, as the alleged injury of breaking an 10 inmate’s wrist, if true, happened after the incident at issue in this action. Thus, it is not 11 reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence. 12 Plaintiff’s contentions that there are several complaints against Defendants Smyth, Carter, 13 and Halsey concerning the conduct described in Plaintiff’s second amended complaint are vague 14 and unsubstantiated. See Bruggerman ex rel. Bruggerman v. Blagojevich, 219 F. E. D. 430, 430 15 (N. D. Ill. 2004) (reasonable particularity required for requests for production of documents, and 16 vague language is insufficient). Plaintiff has not explained to which conduct he refers. Plaintiff 17 has also failed to explain the relevance of complaints against Defendant Ortiz for an alleged petty 18 theft conviction. Such documents would not appear admissible, and the Court does not find that 19 it would be reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Plaintiff also 20 makes no showing as to his discovery request against Defendant Sanchez. 21 While the Court is skeptical of Defendants’ arguments regarding the grievance filing 22 system, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that his discovery requests are reasonably calculated to 23 lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Other acts may demonstrate motive or intent. Fed. 24 R. Civ. P. 404(b). However, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that he seeks evidence of other 25 conduct other than to reflect negatively on Defendants’ character, which is inadmissible. Id. 26 404(a). Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion to compel, filed November 4, 2011, is denied. 27 III. 28 December 2, 2011 Motion Plaintiff moves to compel the production of Plaintiff’s deposition taken on September 22, 5 1 2011. Pl.’s Mot. 1-2, Doc. 68. Plaintiff contends that this request is encompassed in Plaintiff’s 2 original discovery request for the production of” all other documents, items of evidence, or sworn 3 or unsworn statements or affidavits that are related to the allegations made in plaintiff’s 4 complaint.” Id. Defendants contend that they are not obligated to provide Plaintiff with a copy of 5 the deposition transcript pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30. Defs.’ Opp’n 1-2, Doc. 6 70. Defendants further contend that Plaintiff was provided the opportunity to review his 7 deposition transcript. Id., Ex. A. Esquire Solutions Letter, dated Nov. 11, 2011. In reply, 8 Plaintiff contends that he never received the opportunity to review his deposition transcript. Pl.’s 9 Reply 1, Pl.’s Decl. ¶ 2, Doc. 74. 10 A party is required to pay reasonable costs for a copy of the transcript. Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 30(f)(3). Thus, Defendants are not required to produce the transcript at their expense for 12 Plaintiff’s inspection. However, the deponent must be allowed the opportunity to review the 13 deposition transcript or recording upon request. Id. 30(e). Plaintiff declares that he never 14 received notice of the deposition being available for review. Defendants’ letter from Esquire 15 Solutions indicates that the deposition was not signed by the deponent. The Court finds that in 16 the interest of justice, Plaintiff should be provided the opportunity to review his deposition 17 pursuant to Rule 30(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 18 IV. Conclusion And Order 19 Accordingly, it is HEREBY ORDERED that: 20 1. Plaintiff’s motion to compel, filed November 4, 2011, is denied; 21 2. Plaintiff’s motion to compel, filed December 2, 2011, is granted in part; and 22 3. Defendants are to provide Plaintiff the opportunity to review his deposition and 23 make changes, if necessary, pursuant to Rule 30(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil 24 Procedure, within fourteen (14) days from the date of service of this order. 25 26 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: 3b142a February 8, 2012 /s/ Dennis L. Beck UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 27 28 6

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?