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Joseph v. Louisiana Department of Corrections

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

July 6, 2017

JERRY JOSEPH, ET AL
v.
LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL

         SECTION: “S” (4)

          Rachel S Guttmann for Defendants.

          Heather A. McArthur for Defendants.

          Jerry Joseph, Plaintiff Willie Johnson, Jr. for Plaintiffs.

          Derrick Elzy¸for Plaintiffs.

          MINUTE ENTRY; ORDER AND REASONS

          KAREN WELLS ROBY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a Motion to Vacate and Reset Hearing on Motion to Compel (R. Doc. 60) filed by Plaintiffs Jerry Joseph and Merline Joseph (“Plaintiffs”) request the Court to vacate, quash, or estop its prior order (R. Doc. 58) compelling the Plaintiffs to provide their initial disclosures, compelling Plaintiff Jerry Joseph to appear for a deposition on July 6, 2016, and ordering the Plaintiffs' counsel to pay the attorneys' fees and costs incurred by the Defendants in bringing the prior motion to compel. The Plaintiffs argue that the Court's prior order was contrary to the facts underlying this matter and that the Plaintiffs' counsel only rose to the level of excusable neglect. R. Doc. 60-1, p. 1-4.

         Also before the Court is a “Response to Order to Show Cause” (R. Doc. 63) filed by the Plaintiffs further requesting that the Court to reschedule the Court-ordered deposition of Plaintiff Jerry Joseph because he does not have the financial means to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana. The Court understands this letter filed into the record to be an attempt by Plaintiffs' counsel to file another motion seeking relief from the Court's prior order. Given this, the Court will expedite its consideration of the Motion to Vacate and Reset Hearing on Motion to Compel (R. Doc. 60).

         However, before turning the merits of the Plaintiffs' requests, the Court must take this time to caution Plaintiffs' counsel to cease its letter writing campaign to the Court's record. Should the Plaintiffs seek relief from the Court, the Plaintiffs must follow this Court's local rules for the filing of motions. L.R. 7. Failure to comply with the Local Rules in future filings may constitute sanctionable conduct that the Court will not tolerate.

         I. Background

         This action was filed in the District Court on March 9, 2015. R. Doc. 1. The Plaintiffs allege that the Plaintiff's son Keith Joseph (“Deceased”) was booked as an inmate at the Tangipahoa Parish Prison in Tangipahoa, Louisiana on or about February 19, 2014. Id. at p. 4. The Plaintiffs further state that the Deceased suffered from various health conditions, including blood clots surrounding his lungs and a severe heart condition which left untreated caused him to suffer intolerable chest pain. Id. at p. 5. The Plaintiffs allege that throughout the Deceased's time at the Tangipahoa Parish Prison the Defendants in this action were informed of his medical condition and that the Tangipahoa Parish Prison was in control of the Deceased's medication. On March 3, 2014, the Deceased's physical condition deteriorated to the point that he was having intolerable chest pain and began requesting his medication from Defendant Officer Brock. Id. On March 11, 2014, the Deceased was brought to the on-duty Nurse for evaluation, but was returned to his cell despite his complaints. After returning to his cell, the Deceased allegedly continued to complaint to Office Brock until he collapsed in front of Officer Brock and a number of other inmates. Id. at p. 6. Following his collapse, the Deceased was not administered Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation until a period of at least thirty minutes. Id. The Deceased died allegedly as a result of this neglect. As such, the Plaintiffs have filed this action against the Louisiana Department of Corrections and a number of other individuals associated with the prison seeking damages for mental pain, anguish, and distress, burial expenses, loss of love and affection, and all other damages. Id. at p. 8.

         At this time, the Plaintiffs have filed a motion to vacate this Court's prior order (R. Doc. 58) as well as reset the hearing on the motion to compel. R. Doc. 60. The Plaintiffs argue that the Court's prior order should be vacated, quashed, and/or estopped essentially because the Plaintiffs' failure to oppose/respond to the motion to compel was the excusable neglect of the Plaintiffs' attorney. R. Doc. 60-1, p. 3-4. The Plaintiffs' have further filed a letter with the Court stating that Plaintiff Jerry Joseph cannot attend the Court-ordered deposition because he is unable to afford the travel expenses. R. Doc. 63. And, on July 6, 2017, the Plaintiff did not attend the deposition, and the Court held a discovery conference with the Parties.

         II. Standard of Review

         The Plaintiffs have filed a motion for reconsideration of this Court's prior order citing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60. However, that rule is inapposite here. “Rule 60(b) does not apply to the underlying discovery order which [the Plaintiffs seek] to vacate. Indeed, Rule 60(b) ‘by its terms [is] limited to ‘final' judgments or orders [and] is inapplicable to interlocutory orders.'” Sec. & Exch. Comm'n v. Creative Capital Consortium, LLC, No. 08-81565, 2010 ...


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