United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff's Fourth Motion to Compel the City
of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge
(“City-Parish”). (R. Doc. 197). The motion is
opposed. (R. Doc. 198).
Lewis, by and on behalf of the minor child L.A.J.
(“Plaintiff”), filed this civil rights action
regarding the arrest, incarceration, and death of Lamar
Johnson while held at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison
(“EBRPP”). (R. Doc. 1; R. Doc. 27).
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on May 26, 2015,
Mr. Johnson was arrested after a routine traffic stop for
tinted windows, held at the EBRPP on an arrest warrant for a
non-violent charge, and sentenced to five days in prison. (R.
Doc. 27 at 6-7). Plaintiff alleges that while confined, Mr.
Johnson acquired and consumed synthetic marijuana called
“mojo” and suffered paranoid delusions and
extreme emotional distress. (R. Doc. 27 at 7). Plaintiff
alleges that certain Sheriff Defendants later physically
attacked and pepper sprayed Mr. Johnson and moved him to a
wing consisting of a row of solitary isolation cells, and
that Mr. Johnson was again attacked while in solitary
confinement. (R. Doc. 27 at 9-10). On May 30, 2015, Mr.
Johnson was found hanging from his cell bars, and died a few
days later at a local hospital. (R. Doc. 27 at 11).
alleges that Mr. Johnson “died as a result of both
unconstitutional conditions of confinement and particular
individual defendants' deliberate indifference to Mr.
Johnson's constitutional rights.” (Doc. 27 at 1).
Plaintiff further alleges that the unlawful policies and
practices at the EBRPP include “racial segregation of
prisoner living areas, defects in physical design and manner
of operation, including inadequate staffing, inadequate
supervision techniques, poor sightlines, and inadequate
monitoring of prisoner living areas that combined to result
in frequent violence and a continuous pattern of
constitutional deprivations for the prisoners in EBRPP,
including Mr. Johnson.” (R. Doc. 27 at 16).
February 26, 2019, Plaintiff served her Sixth Set of Requests
for Production of Documents to the City-Parish. (R. Doc.
197-3). The City-Parish timely responded. (R. Doc. 197-4).
requests for production sought the employment personnel files
for fourteen individuals, as well as files created by the
City-Parish containing documents related to Dr. Rani
Whifield's work as a medical professional at EBRPP. (R.
Doc. 197-3 at 12-13). The City-Parish objected to the
requests on the bases of overbreadth, irrelevant, vagueness,
ambiguity, and confidentiality, but produced the Professional
Services Agreement between the City-Parish and Dr. Whitfield.
(R. Doc. 197-4 at 4-10).
parties conferred regarding the written discovery on March
28, 2019. (R. Doc. 197-1 at 3). Plaintiff limited her request
to the disciplinary and training records in the files, and
the City-Parish produced those records with respect to five
individuals. (R. Doc. 197-1 at 3-4). The City-Parish refuses,
however, to produce “the disciplinary and training
records of Casani Moton, Thu Thu Fontenot, Kim Bates, and
Michelle Antoine because this group of nurses only came into
contact/had access to Mr. Johnson after his attempted suicide
rather than prior to his attempted suicide” and these
post-attempted suicide contacts are not within the scope of
discovery. (R. Doc. 197-5 at 5).
now seeks an order compelling production of “the
training and discipline records from the personnel files of
the nurses who arrived on the scene on May 30, 2015 at 10:25
a.m. when Mr. Johnson was found hanging from a blanket at the
jail.” (R. Doc. 197-1 at 8). Plaintiff argues that the
training of these nurses, particularly how they respond to
emergencies and suicide attempts, is within the scope of
discovery even though they are not named defendants. (R. Doc.
197-1 at 7). Plaintiff seeks this information in support of a
theory that “lack of proper treatment” from the
responding nurses contributed to Mr. Johnson's death. (R.
Doc. 197-1 at 7).
opposition, the City-Parish argues that the discovery sought
is not relevant or proportional to the needs of the case
because Plaintiff has not alleged any medical malpractice or
negligence claims against the City-Parish, and
Plaintiff's “deliberate indifference” claims
are limited to other defendants. (R. Doc. 198).
Law and Analysis
otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is
as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any
non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case,
considering the importance 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 benefit. Information within this scope
of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be
discoverable.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The court must
limit the frequency or extent of discovery if it determines
that: “(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably
cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other
source that is more convenient, less burdensome, ...