United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
LAWRENCE M. EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
TOM VILLMER, et al, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on various pro se motions. These
matters are fully briefed and ready for disposition.
Pro Se Subpoenas
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
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).
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)).
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
Jackson, 1992 WL 404537, at *7.
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. 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.
Motion to Appoint Counsel
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.
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.
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).
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
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
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).
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). 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).
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.
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 ...