United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions Pursuant to
F.R.C.P. 30(d)(2). (R. Doc. 85). The motion is opposed. (R.
Doc. 100). Plaintiff filed a Reply. (R. Doc. 103).
before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel
Production of Documents. (R. Doc. 86). The City of Baton
Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge (“City-Parish”)
did not file a timely opposition. LR 7(f). The City-Parish
did, however, raise certain arguments with respect to this
motion in the context of opposing Plaintiff's Motion for
Sanctions. (R. Doc. 100 at 8-10). Plaintiff filed a Reply.
(R. Doc. 104).
October 25, 2016, Sherman Mealy (“Plaintiff”)
commenced this action seeking relief under Title II of the
Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”), the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“RA”), and 42 U.S.C
§ 1983. (R. Doc. 1). Plaintiff filed this action after
his release from the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Plaintiff, who is a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair,
alleges that he was denied access to wheelchair-accessible
showers and instead forced to ask other inmates to help him
use the general population showers. Plaintiff also alleges
that he was denied various medical supplies. Defendant
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux and Defendant the City- Parish of East
Baton Rouge each filed motions to dismiss Mr. Mealy's
claims. (R. Doc. 10, 12). On July 21, 2017 those opposed
motions were denied with respect to Mr. Mealy's
constitutional claims under Section 1983, and freestanding
ADA and RA claims. (R. Doc. 41).
March 9, 2018, the City-Parish responded to Plaintiff's
First Set of Requests for Admissions, Interrogatories, and
Requests for Production of Documents. (R. Doc. 79-2).
April 26, 2018, Plaintiff's counsel sent a letter
claiming various deficiencies in the discovery responses. (R.
Doc. 86-3). The parties held a discovery conference on May
14, 2018, as documented in a letter from Plaintiff's
counsel dated May 21, 2018. (R. Doc. 86-4). Among other
things, Plaintiff raised issues regarding the
City-Parish's responses to Plaintiff's Request for
Production Nos. 3, 6, 13 and 14.
counsel represents that “[o]n Thursday, June 21, 2018,
defense counsel shared a dropbox folder ‘Mealy v.
Gautreaux, et al - City's Combined Supplemental Responses
and Responses to Plaintiff's First and Second Set of ROGs
and RFPs' with Plaintiff's counsel that contained
several thousand pages of unorganized documents.” (R.
Doc. 86-5 at 1). Plaintiff's counsel further states that
“[i]n a conversation with [the City-Parish's
attorney] Mr. Howell Andrews leading up to the Rule 30(b)(6)
deposition, Mr. Andrews informed [Plaintiff's counsel]
that he had ‘produced everything in his file' and
that he wasn't holding anything back.” (R. Doc.
86-5 at 2). Plaintiff represents that his counsel believed
that all responsive documents had been located and produced
in light of the folder's contents and conversations with
defense counsel. (R. Doc. 86-1 at 5).
November 6, 2018, the City-Parish objected to Plaintiff's
Rule 30(b)(6) Notice of Deposition of the City-Parish. (R.
Doc. 100-1). The deposition commenced on November 7, 2018
with Rintha Simpson as the Rule 30(b)(6) representative. (R.
Doc. 100-2). During the continuation of the deposition on
November 16, 2018, Mr. Andrews handed Ms. Simpson a note
stating the following “Do not give information not
asked. DO NOT TELL THERE IS MORE THAN ONE HMA -
Report.” (R. Doc. 108; see R. Doc. 100-3 at
the deposition, Plaintiff requested the production of a
“PMS 2015 Internal PO's sheet” equivalent to
Exhibit 10 of the deposition, a “back pain
protocol” document referenced at the deposition, and an
“updated Prison Medical Services report presented at
Wednesday's Metro Council meeting” as discussed at
the deposition. (R. Doc. 86-8 at 1).
her Motion to Compel, Plaintiff seeks an order compelling the
production of the foregoing documents. (R. Doc. 86 at 1).
Plaintiff asserts that these documents are responsive to
Plaintiff's Requests for Production Nos. 3, 6, 13 and/or
14. (R. Doc. 86-1 at 5-7). Defendant represents “[t]he
City-Parish has produced all known medical records of the
[P]laintiff, all applicable finance and budgetary records,
personnel records, policies and protocols of EMS/PMS,
training records, and the like within its known possession[,
]” and that the process of searching the storage
location would be unduly burdensome and disproportionate to
the needs of this case. (R. Doc. 100 at 10).
her Motion for Sanctions, Plaintiff argues that defense
counsel “impeded, delayed, and otherwise
frustrated” Plaintiff's ability to take a fair Rule
30(b)(6) examination of the City-Parish “by (1)
attempting to surreptitiously pass a note to the witness
during Plaintiff's questioning of the witness, (2) making
non-form objections, and (3) making numerous lengthy talking
statements.” (R. Doc. 85 at 1; See R. Doc.
89-1). Plaintiff seeks an order requiring, among other
things, that all future depositions be videotaped at the
expense of the City-Parish, production of defense
counsel's note passed to the Rule 30(b)(6)
representative, and an award of attorney's fees for
filing the motion and the costs of the Rule 30(b)(6)
deposition transcript. (R. Doc. 85 at 1-2).
Simpson has submitted an affidavit representing that to her
knowledge “that while there is only one health
management report prepared by Health Management Associates
(‘HMA') pertaining to the East Baton Rouge Parish
Prison, and the report is in the form of a power point
presentation, ” she is “also aware of another
health management report prepared by a group [she
understands] to be called Loop Capital, which is in the form
of a paragraph-style essay.” (R. Doc. 100-3 at 2).
Law and Analysis
Plaintiff's Motion to Compel
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, or less
expensive; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample
opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the
action; or (iii) the proposed discovery is outside the scope
permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C).
court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party
or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue
burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). Rule
26(c)'s “good cause” requirement indicates
that the party seeking a protective order has the burden
“to show the necessity of its issuance, which
contemplates a particular and specific demonstration of fact
as distinguished from stereotyped and conclusory
statements.” In ...