United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CHARLES A. SHAW DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on pro se plaintiff Benjamin
William Wagner's motion to compel the production of
documents from defendant Robert Warner, and motion to amend
the case management order. Defendant opposes the motion to
compel and it is fully briefed. Defendant did not respond to
the motion to amend the case management order.
a prisoner at Farmington Correctional Center in Farmington,
Missouri, filed this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Warner, a Farmington functional unit manager. Plaintiff
alleges that when he was being moved to administrative
segregation (“TASC”) on October 15, 2014,
defendant Warner did not allow him to take his legal
materials along to TASC and instead had them placed in
storage, which caused plaintiff to miss a court deadline. On
review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court found that
plaintiff stated a claim for denial of access to the
following reasons, the Court will deny plaintiff's motion
to compel, but will grant his motion to amend the case
moves to compel defendant Warner to respond more completely
to his First Request for Production of Documents dated June
7, 2016. Specifically, plaintiff moves to compel the
production of his request for “the complete prison
record for plaintiff.” The Court notes that plaintiff
corresponded with defendant in a good-faith effort to resolve
the discovery dispute prior to filing his motion to compel,
as required by Local Rule 3.04(A) and Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 37(a)(1). Mot. to Compel at 2; see Order
of June 2, 2016 (Doc. 31).
objects to this request on the basis that it is vague and
ambiguous, overly broad, unduly burdensome, not proportional
to the needs of the case, and because many of the documents
contained in such a broad request would likely be
confidential and implicate the safety and security of the
prison. Defendant states that plaintiff has not made a
threshold showing the request would be relevant to the claim
he has made in this case, and defendant states he has
produced initial and supplemental disclosures totaling 109
pages, and an additional 24 pages of documents in response to
plaintiff's requests for production of documents.
Def.'s Response at 1 (Doc. 34).
objects that plaintiff's request for production is not
limited and covers the entire time period of plaintiff's
incarceration as well as every document generated by the
Missouri Department of Corrections in relation to his
incarceration. Defendant asserts it would “likely
require many hundreds of pages and many such pages would
likely have to be redacted due to confidential information .
. . in order to prevent a compromise to the safety or
security of the institution.” Id. at 5.
Defendant argues the request is not proportional as the
“issues in the case concern a single alleged incident
and the very discrete matter whether Plaintiff was
unconstitutionally deprived of access to his legal
materials.” Id. at 3.
replies that he will amend his request to limit the scope of
time to the period of October 14, 2014 to March 31, 2015.
Plaintiff asserts that his request is proportional to the
case “in that defendant states that his actions were in
accordance with MODOC Procedures, and said Procedures state
that certain documents were to be generated by this
procedure, when said documents were requested Defendant's
Response was NONE.” Pl.'s Reply at 1 (Doc.
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b), as amended December 1, 2015,
addresses the scope of discovery:
(1) Scope in General. Unless
otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is
as follows: Parties 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,
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
26(b)(1), Fed. R. Civ. P.
Court has considered the substance of plaintiff's
arguments and reviewed the discovery request and
defendant's response and objections thereto. The Court
finds that defendant's objections are appropriate.
Plaintiff fails to explain how the documents he seeks are
relevant to his claim. Plaintiff states that his request for
the “complete prison record” is relevant because
defendant stated in response to a separate Request for
Production of Documents that a particular document required
by institutional procedures does not exist. Pl.'s Reply
at 1, Ex. 1(a). Defendant's response that a specific
document does not exist does not persuade the Court that
plaintiff's request for a copy of his “complete
prison record” seeks relevant information.
Plaintiff's statement that “it is believed there
will be additional admissible evidence produced from the
request to produce, ” Reply at 4, is mere speculation.
request for his “complete prison record” is also
overbroad, see McGee v. Kurth, 2014 WL 6607007 (E.D.
Mo. Nov. 19, 2014). In the context of this case,
plaintiff's limitation of the request to a five-month
time period does not resolve the problem. As defendant
observes, this case concerns a limited time period and set of
facts relating to plaintiff's placement in TASC on
October 15, 2014 and defendant's refusal to allow
plaintiff to take his legal materials with him on that date.
Finally, defendant's assertion of institutional safety
and security concerns presented by the production of an
inmate's “complete prison record” is
legitimate, as is the burden associated with such production,