United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
WELLS ROBY, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Motion to Compel (Rec. Doc.
11) filed by the Plaintiff, Calvin Lewis, seeking to
compel Defendant, Sheriff Randy Smith, to adequately respond
to Plaintiff's Request for Production of Documents. The
Motion is opposed. Rec. Doc. 13. Oral argument was heard on
November 14, 2018.
matter was filed by a former Captain of the St. Tammany
Parish Deputy who was terminated after he began an intimate
relationship with a female who was in the prison work release
program. He filed this suit against the Sheriff Randy Smith
contending that the fraternization policy which prohibited
deputies from engaging in relationships with felons is
unconstitutional because it is selectively applied to African
Americans. He concedes in the complaint that he lives with
his girlfriend and her two children and that doing so
violates the office policy. He concedes that he was given a
chance to comply with the policy or suffer termination. He
opted for termination rather than leave his family. Rec. Doc.
1. He now contends that the fraternization policy violated
his First and Fifth Amendment rights and are actionable under
42 U.S.C. § 1983, that they are constitutionally
overbroad and vague, and selectively enforced.
The Contested Discovery
propounded Request for Production of Documents on Sheriff
Smith which were largely responded with objections. Lewis now
seeks to compel the Sheriff to respond and also to pay his
attorneys fees and costs. Rec. Doc. 11.
Sheriff opposes the Motion, contending that (1) many of the
disputed Request for Production of documents are now moot
because they supplemented their response; (2) other Request
for Production of Documents may be responded to once the
Court enters Consent Protective Order (also filed on the day
of his opposition); (3) the disputed Requests are overbroad
and burdensome because Lewis failed to reasonably narrow his
Requests; and (4) irrelevant because it seeks detailed
personal information, including entire personnel files, of
individuals not a party to this action. Rec. Doc. 13.
Standard of Review
Discovery of documents, electronically stored information,
and tangible things is governed by Rule 34. Rule 34 allows a
party to request the production of “any designated
documents or electronically stored information” or
“any tangible things.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
34(a)(1). Rules 33 and 34 allow a party to ask
interrogatories and request production to the extent of Rule
26(b)(1) provides that parties may obtain discovery regarding
relevant information to any claim or defense as long as it is
nonprivileged. Rule 26(b)(1) specifies that
“[i]nformation within the scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discovered.” Rule
26(b)(1) also specifies that discovery must be
“proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
important of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in
controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 37 provides that
“[a] party seeking discovery may move for an order
compelling an answer, designation, production, or inspection.
This motion may be made if: ... (iii) a party fails to answer
an interrogatory submitted under Rule 33, or (iv) a party
fails to respond that inspection will be permitted-or fails
to permit inspection-as requested under Rule 34.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B). An “evasive or
incomplete” answer or production is treated the same as
a complete failure to answer or produce. Fed.R.Civ.P.
motion to compel under Rule 37(a) must also “include a
certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or
attempted to confer with the person or party failing to make
disclosure or discovery ...