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Doe v. Sanderson

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

November 13, 2019

JEREMIAH DOE, Plaintiff,
v.
ALAN SANDERSON, II, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          INDIRA TALWANI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a Motion to Compel Discovery [#53]. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants failed to respond fully to nine of Plaintiff's Request for Production of Documents. Decl. of Jeremiah Doe in Supp. of Mot. to Compel (“Doe Decl.”) ¶ 8 [#55]. Following a hearing, and for reasons stated below, the Motion to Compel [#53] is DENIED in part and GRANTED in part as to Defendant Alan Sanderson, II.[1]

         Requests No. 2 and No. 3

         Request No. 2 seeks:

All documents, reports, memoranda, notices, letters and [correspondences], training materials, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations concerning the correct way and procedures in handcuffing and/or rest[r]aining persons.

         Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Compel Disc., Ex. 1 Pl.'s First Req. for the Produc. of Docs. (“Pl.'s RFP”) [#54-1]. Request No. 3 seeks:

All documents, reports, memoranda, notices, letter and correspondences, training materials, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations concerning the treatment of inmates/offenders who are located in Massachusetts Department of Corrections facilities. This will be for both the verbal and physical treatment of inmates/offenders, which should include any code of conduct, and policies regarding the publishing of inmate convictions for all inmates to see or hear.

         Pl.'s RFP 3 [#54-1].

         Plaintiff asserts that the requested documents are highly relevant to his claim that Defendant acted outside of the scope of training when he twisted Plaintiff's arm while handcuffing him. Id. Defendant contends that these requests are overbroad, not limited in time and scope, and seek subject matter that is both irrelevant to the subject matter of the action and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s RFP 2; Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s RFP 3 [#54-1]. Defendant also asserts that RFP 3 appears to have been propounded “solely for the purpose of annoyance . . . .” Id. Without waiving these objections, Defendant produced a copy of the public use of force CMR as responsive to RFP 2, but asserted that production of further responsive documents jeopardizes internal security.[2] With respect to RFP 3, Defendant produced training materials, and otherwise referred Plaintiff to policies and regulations available at the inmate law library. Defendant notes that he has withheld one document, containing rules and regulations for Department of Corrections (“DOC”) employees, because production would present security concerns.

         The request for “all documents, reports . . . and regulations” (emphasis added) without a time limitation is overbroad. Documents relating to the period when Plaintiff was incarcerated at Souza-Baranowski, from July 2013 to October 24, 2013 (the “relevant period”), Compl. ¶¶ 14, 103 [#1], in contrast, appear to be “relevant to [his] claim . . . and proportional to the needs of the case . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). With respect to RFP 3, the request is also overbroad to the extent it seeks documents unrelated to physical abuse or publication of confidential inmate records. However, documents relating to physical abuse or the publication of confidential inmate records in force during relevant period of his Complaint [#1] are relevant to Plaintiff's surviving 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim and state law claims of verbal and physical harassment. The court COMPELS production of responsive documents for the relevant period as follows.

         In order to address the internal security concerns raised by the Defendant, the court adopts the following protocol for in camera review of relevant documents. Plaintiff is directed to propound one or more interrogatories or requests for admission stating the specific policy or information he seeks to prove through the requested documents. Defendant shall respond to the interrogatories or requests for admission. If Defendant disputes Plaintiff's assertions regarding the specific policy or information contained in the documents, Defendant shall provide a copy of the documents to Plaintiff, with information not directly related to Plaintiff's inquiry redacted. If Defendant contends that providing the redacted document would still raise internal security concerns, or Plaintiff notifies Defendant's counsel that Plaintiff seeks review of redacted portions of the document, Defendant shall file a Request for In Camera Review, attaching Plaintiff's Interrogatory or Request for Admission and Defendant's Response, and shall submit the responsive documents to the clerk for filing under seal pursuant to this Order.

         Request No. 4

All training officers' names and current contact information for all of the defendants. This would include training staff, supervisors, and guest training staff who would teach any aspect of the training both at the training academy and continual training and the aspects in which each of these training staff members taught and when they taught

Pl.'s RFP 4 [#54-1]. Plaintiff asserts that he needs the names of the training officers in order to argue that Defendant's treatment of him fell ...


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