United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. Hornsby I U.S. Magistrate Judge
Advocacy Center, on behalf of inmates at the David Wade
Correctional Center (“DWCC”), filed this putative
class action to seek injunctive relief with respect to the
mental health care afforded inmates who are held in extended
lockdown on the south compound in buildings N-1 through N-4,
which are solitary confinement and extended lockdown tiers.
Several months before suit was filed, counsel for the
Advocacy Center wrote DWCC and demanded that it place a
litigation hold on relevant evidence, specifically including
video footage from cameras located in the N tiers.
the court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel (Doc.
133), which seeks an order from this court to compel
Defendants to produce outstanding documents in response to
Plaintiffs' discovery requests. For the following
reasons, the motion is granted in part and denied in
may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that
is relevant to any party's claim or defense and
proportional to the needs of the case. The information need
not be admissible at trial to be discoverable. Fed.R.Civ.P.
for Production No. 3
request all documents and communications related to
Administrative Remedy Procedures (ARP) regarding 15
prisoners, including the two named plaintiffs. Plaintiffs
claim that Defendants did not provide responsive documents
for inmates Hearne and Palmer, nor did Defendants certify
that they had no such documents.
respond that Palmer has not been housed at the facility since
June 2017 and that there are no responsive documents for
either offender. In their reply, Plaintiffs state that,
regardless of Palmer's specific location, he has at all
relevant times been in the custody of the Louisiana
Department of Safety and Corrections (“LDPSC”),
which is a named defendant. Therefore, Defendants should have
responsive documents as to Palmer. Plaintiffs also request
that Defendants certify that they have no responsive
documents as to Hearne.
in part. If Palmer submitted ARPs while at DWCC, then
Defendants are ordered to produce the requested documents.
ARPs submitted by Palmer while held elsewhere are irrelevant.
If there are no responsive documents for either Hearne or
Palmer, the Defendants must say so.
for Production No. 4
request all documents and communications related to ARPs on
the topics of mental health, medication management, tier
temperature, use of force, Policy 34, and interference with
the mail system. Plaintiffs argue that Defendants have only
provided ARPs for the two named Plaintiffs as well as
individuals named in other requests, but the complete
response should include ARPs on the specified topics filed by
anyone on extended lockdown. Defendants objected to the
request on the basis that the request sought information that
was not relevant or admissible. Defendants also objected to
the extent that the request called for a determination of
what documents or classes of documents are
“related” to the specified topics. Defendants
further objected on the basis that the request sought
confidential information and was unduly burdensome.
their response to the motion, Defendants argued that the
request is not proportional to the needs of the case and that
they have provided do cu m e n ts as t o th e named
plaintiffs as well as 27 other offenders. Defendants also
assert that the request is unduly burdensome as it would
require them to view all of the ARPs at DWCC and determine
which ones are related to the specified topics.
collectively addressed all of the blanket objections in their
reply memorandum. They argue that Defendants have not made a
showing, under Rule 34(a)(1), of undue burden. Plaintiff
contends that the lawful process of discovery necessarily
places some burden on litigants, but Defendants have not
submitted evidence or affidavits to show that any of the
requests would impose an undue burden.
Defendants have not met their burden of showing the request
is unduly burdensome. These requests go to the heart of this
case, and the court finds that the requests are proportional,
in light of the relevant time period that was defined.
for Production No. 5
seek all mental health records for certain offenders.
Plaintiffs claim that the records produced by Defendants
contain certain gaps in the records, that some of the records
are lacking signatures, and that there was no record provided
for inmate Palmer. Defendants respond that there are no
additional documents that have not already been provided.
They state that the missing signatures are due to the records
being printed from DWCC's system. Finally, no documents
were produced for Palmer because he is not housed at DWCC.
The court cannot force Defendants to produce something they
do not have.
for Production No. 6
request all documents related to suicide watch or extreme
suicide watch for prisoners placed on either status during
the relevant time period. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants
have only provided responsive documents for individuals
listed in other, separate requests rather than all suicide
watch records. Plaintiffs argue that the requested documents
are relevant to the case as an entire section of the
complaint deals with suicide watch. Defendants objected to
the request on the basis that it called for a determination
of what documents are “related” to suicide watch
and to the extent that the request sought confidential
information. Subject to those objections, Defendants did
provide some responsive documents.
their response, Defendants argue that the request is unduly
burdensome to determine which offenders have been on suicide
watch. Defendants would have to determine which documents are
“related” to suicide watch. Defendants argue that
the request is not sufficiently tailored to the needs of the
case. Plaintiffs reply that Defendants “have made no
showing that the universe of documents created by the prison
in relation to an individual being placed on suicide watch is
so vast as to render an ordinary person unable to determine
in part. The request is very overbroad as written, but the
court will modify it include only the documents that were
created by Defendants as a result of specific prisoners, to
be identified by Plaintiffs, being placed on either type of
suicide watch status during the relevant time period.
for Production No. 7
seek documents sufficient to show the names, job title, and
dates of employment of all mental health and medical staff
employed by or contracting with DWCC. Plaintiffs assert that
Defendants have not provided end dates for some of the staff.
Defendants respond that they provided a responsive document,
but it did not contain the end dates. Defendant argues that,
pursuant to Stevens v. Omega Protein, Inc., 2002 WL
1022507, *3 (E.D. La. 2002), a request for production cannot
compel the production of a document. Defendants state that
they can provide end dates for the employees informally or
through another discovery device.
in part as follows. Defendants are directed to provide the
end dates informally (but in writing).
for Production No. 8
request all documents sufficient to show the monthly
inventory of all mental health medications at DWCC within the
last 12 months. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants objected on
the basis that they did not possess any responsive documents
but referred to the medicine administration records and
prescription records attached to their response to Request
for Production No. 9.
argue that DWCC does not have an onsite pharmacy, and its
pharmacy needs are fulfilled by the Elayn Hunt Correctional
Center, which is not a party to this suit. In their reply,
Plaintiffs point out that the records of Elayn Hunt are under
the custody and control of defendant LDPSC.
The court does not believe it would be difficult for
Defendants to obtain this inventory information from Elayn
for Production No. 9
request all documents related to DWCC's prescription drug
database. Plaintiffs allege that defendants did not provide
any documents related to DWCC's prescription drug
database but only provided pill call logs for a small number
objected to the request as vague with regard to the term
“database.” Defendant asserts that it does not
have a prescription drug database within the intent of the
request as its pharmacy needs are fulfilled by Elayn Hunt.
Defendant claims that it provided administration and pharmacy
records in its possession for the named Plaintiffs and for
whom Plaintiffs provided medical releases. As with Request
No. 8, Plaintiff claims that the records of Elayn Hunt are
within the custody and control of LDPSC, and Defendant must
produce the documents.
This request is redundant of No. 8. Furthermore, the request
“for all documents related to …” is too
broad in the context of this request.
for Production No. 11
requested all unusual occurrence reports during the relevant
time period pertaining to several individuals. Defendant did
not provide reports for inmates Blanchard, Johnson, Kelly, or
Palmer. Defendant objected to the request on the basis that
it sought information regarding offenders who were not named
plaintiffs and who had not authorized release of their
information. Defendants again state that Palmer is not housed
at DWCC, and Defendants have not located any responsive
documents as to ...