Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Edwards v. Villmer

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

June 22, 2017

LAWRENCE M. EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
v.
TOM VILLMER, et al, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RONNIE L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on various pro se motions. These matters are fully briefed and ready for disposition.

         I. Pro Se Subpoenas

         In his first Motion for Subpoenas (ECF No. 56), Edwards seeks blank subpoenas Duces Tecum directed to (1) State Senator Jamilah Nasheed for District 5, (2) Jason L. Groce, Chief of Staff for Senator Nasheed. Edwards claims that Nasheed and Groce are in the possession of affidavits from numerous offenders who witnessed Edwards being harassed and assaulted by another offender.

         In his second Motion for Subpoenas (ECF No. 57), Edwards seeks blank subpoenas Deuces Tecum directed to (1) Meagan Siebe, (2) Blake Lawrence, (3) LaShanda Williams, (4) COI Robinson (African-American male), and (5) the Attorney General's Office for document production. Edwards claims that these individuals were employed at the Farmington Corrections Center between 2013 and 2015. Edwards claims that these individuals have information related to the "facts of this claim" and information regarding actions "to retaliate against and harass Plaintiff. (ECF No. 57 at 1-2).

         The Court has the "discretionary power to refuse to subpoena witnesses and to prevent abuse of its process in both civil and criminal proceedings." Manning v. Lockhart, 623 F.2d 536, 539 (8th Cir. 1980) (per curiam). "This power should be exercised to protect the resources of the Court and the Marshals Service, and to prevent harassment and undue expense of other parties and non-parties." Stockdale v. Stockdale, No. 4:08-CV-1773 CAS, 2009 WL 4030758, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 18, 2009) (citing Lloyd v. McKendree, 749 F.2d 705, 707 (11th Cir. 1985)).

         "Courts exercising inherent supervisory power over in forma pauperis subpoenas generally consider factors such as the relevance and materiality of the information requested and the necessity of the particular testimony or documents to proving the indigent's case." Stockdale, 2009 WL 4030758, at *1 (citing Jackson v. Brinker, 1992 WL 404537, at *6 (S.D. Ind. Dec. 21, 1992); Tuvalu v. Woodford, 2006 WL 3201096, at *5 (E.D.Cal. Nov. 2, 2006) ("[A] party's ability to use a subpoena duces tecum is circumscribed by the relevance standards of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1)[.]" "When reviewing subpoenas duces tecum directed to non-parties, a court should also examine issues related to the expected compliance costs in light of Rule 45(c)(2)(B)'s provision that non-parties be protected against significant expense." Stockdale, 2009 WL 4030758, at *1 (citing Jackson, 1992 WL 404537, at *5).

If a court finds that an indigent party's requests for issuance and service of subpoenae duces tecum directed to a non-party is frivolous, requests immaterial or unnecessary information, is unduly burdensome, would be reasonably certain to result in the indigent's responsibility for significant compliance costs for which he cannot provide, or is otherwise unreasonable or abusive of the court's process, the court may relieve the Marshals Service of its duty under § 1915(c) to serve the subpoenae.

Jackson, 1992 WL 404537, at *7.

         Edwards has submitted various subpoena duces tecum, but a review of these requests shows that they are not specific enough for the Court to allow them to proceed. Edwards has not identified the specific information sought from each deponent and how that information relates directly to his cause of action. Rather, Edwards has asserted in generic, conclusory claims of what these individuals will testify to and produce documents. Therefore, the Court denies Edwards' Motions for Subpoena Duces Tecum (ECF No. 56, 57) without prejudice.[1] Edwards may refile his requests for subpoena duces tecum, but must provide the Court with the specific information that each individual will provide and how that information relates to his causes of action.

         II. Motion to Appoint Counsel

         Edwards filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel (ECF No. 59). There is no constitutional or statutory right to appointed counsel in a civil case. Nelson v. Redfield Lithograph Printing, 728 F.2d 1003, 1004 (8th Cir. 1984). In determining whether to appoint counsel, courts consider factors that include whether the plaintiff has presented non-frivolous allegations supporting his prayer for relief, whether the plaintiff will substantially benefit from the appointment of counsel, whether there is a need to further investigate and present the facts related to the plaintiffs allegations, and whether the factual and legal issues presented by the action are complex. See Battle v. Armontrout, 902 F.2d 701, 702 (8th Cir. 1990); Johnson v. Williams, 788 F.2d 1319, 1322-23 (8th Cir. 1986); Nelson, 728 F.2d at 1005.

         After considering Edwards' Motion for Appointment of Counsel, in view of the relevant factors, the Court finds that the facts and legal issues presented in the instant case are not so complex as to warrant the appointment of counsel at this time. In addition, the pleadings filed by Edwards, indicate that he is capable of presenting the facts and legal issues without the assistance of counsel. Edwards' Motion for Appointment of Counsel will therefore be denied.

         III. Initial Disclosures

         Edwards has filed a Motion Requesting Initial Disclosure from Opposing Counsel before Filing a Motion to Compel (ECF No. 63) and a Motion Requesting Initial Disclosure from Defendants Dashner and Defendant Ford (ECF No. 64).

         Defendants sent their Rule 26(a)(1) Initial Disclosures to Plaintiff on March 17, 2017, and resent the Initial Disclosures after receiving Edwards' Motions. (ECF Nos. 65, 66). Therefore, the Court denies Edwards' Motions Requesting Initial Disclosures.

         IV. Motion for Final Request [for] Full Disclosure List (ECF No. 68) and Motion for Leave to File 25 More Request for Admissions, Interrogatories, and Production of Documents (ECF No. 67)

         In Edwards' Motion for Final Request [for] Full Disclosure List, he claims that Defendants did not provide him with several documents, including reports, memoranda, IOCs, Investigative Reports from Warden Villmer and Asst. Warden Boyer, telephone transcripts of calls with DeJuan Sumpter's mother. (ECF No. 68 at 1). Edwards also asks for leave to file 25 more requests for admissions, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents. (ECF No. 67).

         In response, Defendants note that they provided their Rule 26 (a)(1) Initial Disclosures to Edwards. (ECF No. 69, ¶¶l, 2). Defendants also state that they provided Defendant Dashner's Answers and Objections to Plaintiffs' Request for Admissions; Defendant Dashner's Answers and Objections to Plaintiffs Second Request for Admissions; Defendant Ford's Answers and Objections to Plaintiffs Requests for Admissions; and Defendant Ford's Answers and Objections to Plaintiffs Second Request for Admissions on March 28, 2017. (ECF No. 69, ¶4). On April 6, 2017, Defendants mailed their responses to Plaintiffs Second Interrogatories to Defendants Dasher and Ford. (ECF No. 74, ¶3). Defendants received Plaintiffs Second Request for Second Set of Production of Documents on March 13, 2017; Plaintiffs Third Request for Production of Documents on March 31, 2017; and Plaintiffs Request For Production of Documents and Discovery Second Set of Production of Documents and Discovery on April 3, 2017. (ECF No. 74, ¶4).[2] Therefore, Defendants claim that they owe no outstanding discovery responses to Edwards. Defendants also note that Edwards has propounded seventy-nine requests for production. (ECF No. 74, ¶4). Defendants claim that Edwards has not demonstrated good cause to increase the number of discovery requests and that Edwards' requests attempt to broaden the scope of discovery to matters beyond his allegations that Defendants retaliated against him. (ECF No.74, ¶¶5, 6).

         The Court holds that, based upon the evidence before the Court, Defendants have responded to Edwards' discovery requests. Edwards identifies documents he wants, but fails to establish where he requested those documents. Edwards must outline the specific request that corresponds to the documents he claims Defendants did not produce. Therefore, the Court denies, without prejudice Edwards' Motions for Disclosure.

         Further, a party must show "good cause or other legal justification" to increase the number of discovery requests permitted under the federal rules. Woodmen of the World Life Ins. Soc. v. U.S. Bank. Nat. Ass'n, No. 8:09cv407, 2012 WL 1637246, *1 (D. Neb. May 7, 2012). At this point, the Court finds that Edwards has not demonstrated good cause for propounding additional requests. Edwards has already propounded seventy-nine (79), which is far in excess of the number allowed under the Federal Rules. Edwards has not shown how these additional requests are necessary for him to litigate his case. Likewise, several of his requests seem to be too far afield from the crux of his litigation against Defendants. Therefore, the Court denies, without prejudice, Edwards' request for additional discovery requests. Edwards may submit additional requests for ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.