United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. Hornsby 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.
Before the court is Defendants' Motion to Compel
(Doc. 144), which seeks an order from this court to
compel Plaintiffs to produce outstanding responses to
Defendants' discovery requests. For the following
reasons, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.
argue that Defendants failed to meet and confer in good faith
prior to filing the motion. Plaintiffs claim that they
received a request to supplement their responses on September
18, 2018. Plaintiffs claim that a telephone call that same
month was the only time that the parties conferred regarding
the adequacy of the supplemental responses. Plaintiffs assert
that Defendants did not inform Plaintiffs that the
supplemental responses were unsatisfactory.
respond that they sent a letter to Plaintiffs highlighting
the deficiencies in the supplemental responses and conferred
on the matter via telephone on September 19, 2018. During
that conference, Plaintiffs agreed to provide a
supplementation. Defendants contend that the parties
discussed the issues for over an hour, and Plaintiffs have
still not provided supplemental responses consistent with
their agreement at the conference. Defendants argue that they
were not under any obligation to meet and confer on the
issues again, and the matter is ripe for decision. The court
have propounded many interrogatories to Plaintiffs seeking
specific instances of denial of mental health care, the
factual bases for the claims in Plaintiffs' complaint,
all documents and evidence Plaintiffs intend to use at trial,
and the like. Plaintiffs objected to many of these
interrogatories, claiming that they are overbroad and
burdensome “blockbuster” interrogatories.
Rule of Civil Procedure 33 allows for the use of broad
interrogatories. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a)(2). But
courts have held that “‘blockbuster'
interrogatories, which require a party to state every fact
supporting all of its allegations, as well as identify each
person with knowledge of each fact and all documents
supporting each count, are impermissible.” HCB Fin.
Corp. v. Kennedy, 2016 WL 6216179, *2 (S.D.Miss. 2016);
citing Hilt v. SFC, Inc., 170 F.R.D. 182, 186-87 (D.
Kan. 1997) (interrogatories requiring the party to identify
all facts supporting its position, all witnesses with
knowledge of those facts, and all documents supporting the
position are unduly burdensome). However, “the fact
that the information could also be sought by way of a
deposition is not grounds for refusing to answer an
interrogatory, so long as the answer can be made without
imposing an undue burden on the responsive party.”
Brassell v. Turner, 2006 WL 1806465, at *2
(S.D.Miss. 2006) (interrogatories were overly broad and
unduly burdensome where they sought an open-ended narrative
that was not tailored in any way).
respond that, if the requests are overbroad, it is because of
the scope of Plaintiffs' contentions. Defendants argue
that it is unfair for Plaintiffs to make system-wide, broad
allegations and then object to providing the bases for the
contentions because they are overbroad. Defendants also claim
that contention interrogatories, which ask a party to state
the facts on which it bases a claim or defense, are a
permissible form of written discovery. The court will take up
this issue in the context of each interrogatory.
asked Plaintiffs to identify all witnesses regarding the
facts and circumstances surrounding the incidents referred to
in the complaint. Plaintiff answered the interrogatory by
referring Defendants to the initial disclosures. Defendants
asked for a supplement to the answer, and Plaintiffs
responded with a list of everyone in extended lockdown.
Defendants argue that Plaintiffs should be required to
identify the persons they expect to call as witnesses rather
than simply list everyone.
respond that Defendants' request to identify the
individuals that Plaintiffs expect to call as witnesses was
first raised in this motion, rather than in the discovery
conference. Plaintiffs argue that the response Defendants
seek to compel is new and would require a separate
as follows. Plaintiffs shall provide a good faith list of
their (currently) expected trial witnesses. Plaintiffs'
final witness list will be filed in connection with
preparation of the pretrial order.
asked Plaintiffs to identify every person with whom the named
plaintiffs or their attorney has met or from whom Plaintiffs
have taken a statement. Plaintiffs objected to the
interrogatory, asserting privilege. Defendants argue that the
mere identity of witnesses is not protected from discovery.
Plaintiffs respond that they provided a supplemental response
to the interrogatory that contains a list identifying every
person with whom Plaintiffs had written or oral contact.
Plaintiffs' response is sufficient.