United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 arises out of the arrest,
detention, prosecution, and acquittal of Plaintiff following
his engagement in a political protest on May 24, 2012. The
matter is now before the Court on Plaintiff's renewed
motion (ECF No. 49) to compel discovery responses from
Defendants, and for sanctions against Defendants for failing
to comply with the Court's December 22, 2017, Memorandum
and Order (ECF No. 48) granting in part Plaintiff's prior
motion to compel (ECF No. 38). In that Order, the Court
required Defendants to produce, no later than January 5,
2018, any outstanding documents in their possession, custody,
or control responsive to the discovery requests at issue in
Plaintiff's motion, or if all such documents had been
produced, a letter to Plaintiff certifying that fact.
January 5, 2018, Defendants' counsel sent Plaintiff an
email stating that “[f]ollowing up on the Court's
Memorandum and Order of December 22, 2017, this shall confirm
that our clients do not have additional documents in their
possession that are responsive to the discovery requests at
issue in Plaintiff's motion to compel.” ECF No.
50-2. Nevertheless, on January 10 and 12, 2018, after
Plaintiff filed this renewed motion to compel and for
sanctions, Defendants produced additional responsive
documents, including personnel records for the named
Defendants, organizational charts, and “CFS”
reports from May 24 through May 25, 2012. In the
January 10, 2018, email production to Plaintiff,
Defendants' counsel also stated that his clients were
“double-checking to see if [they have] any additional
records responsive” to the discovery requests. ECF No.
54-1. And in their brief before this Court, Defendants state
that they have “searched for, but as of this time
ha[ve] been able [sic] to locate an audio recording
of the police radio dispatch pertaining to the scene of the
protests on May 24-25, 2012.” ECF No. 52 at 2.
do not explain what search efforts they have made to
“double check” whether their production is
complete, or why such search efforts were not made earlier.
Nor do they explain why the documents produced on January 10
and 12, were not produced earlier.
current motion, Plaintiff seeks an order compelling
Defendants to produce any outstanding documents that are
responsive to the discovery requests at issue in
Plaintiff's original motion to compel (ECF No. 38) and
that are accessible in Defendants' computer and records
management systems. Plaintiff also seeks sanctions in the
form of attorneys' fees and expenses. In response,
Defendants argue that they have been forthcoming and
cooperative with Plaintiff throughout the discovery process.
district court may impose sanctions for discovery violations
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 or pursuant to
its “inherent authority to fashion an appropriate
sanction for conduct which abuses the judicial
process.” Duranseau v. Portfolio Recovery
Assocs., 644 F. App'x 702, 707 (8th Cir. 2016).
Court has previously held that the discovery requests at
issue in Plaintiff's original motion to compel were
relevant to Plaintiff's municipal liability claim and
within the scope of discovery permissible under the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Although Defendants have at various
times asserted that they have fully responded to the
discovery requests, their continued and belated production of
relevant documents belies these assertions. Defendants have
offered no excuse for waiting until after the motion for
sanctions was filed to search for additional responsive
documents. Discovery closed on December 1, 2017, and the
Court ordered Defendants to produce any outstanding
responsive documents by January 5, 2018.
Defendants did not comply with the Court's Order, and
have provided no justification for their non-compliance, the
Court finds that sanctions in the form of reasonable
attorneys' fees incurred in bringing the current motion
are appropriate, and will further grant Plaintiff's
motion as set forth below.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs renewed
motion to compel and for sanctions is GRANTED in
part, as follows. ECF No. 49.
or before January 30, 2018, Defendants shall
conduct a diligent search and produce to Plaintiffs any
outstanding documents in their possession, custody, and
control responsive to the discovery requests at issue in
Plaintiffs original motion to compel (ECF No. 38).
or before January 31, 2018, Defendants shall
produce to Plaintiffs a sworn affidavit identifying and
describing the means they employed to search for responsive
documents in their possession, custody, and control,
including the audio recording of the police radio dispatch
referenced above; and stating that they have produced all
responsive, non-privileged documents identified in that
Plaintiffs motion for sanctions is GRANTED in
part, in the amount of $500.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs response to
Defendants' motion for summary judgment shall be due no
later than February 21, 2018, and any ...