United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
CHRISTINA BROOKS, on Behalf of All Beneficiaries, Pursuant to §537.080, R.S. Mo., Plaintiffs,
THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Motion to Compel
Directed to Defendant the City of Jennings
("Jennings") (ECF No. 67). This matter is fully
briefed and ready for disposition.
Christina Brooks ("Brooks") filed this lawsuit on
behalf of her son, DeJuan Brison ("Brison"), who
was confined at the St. Louis City Justice Center from
October 1, 2014 to October 4, 2014, and hung himself four
hours after being transferred to the Jennings Detention
Center. Count XI alleges that Brison died as a result of
Jennings operating a "modern debtors' prison"
in violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983, as well as violations
of the First, Fourth Sixth, Thirteen, and Fourteenth
Amendments of the United States Constitution. (ECF No. 68 at
2; Complaint, ECF No. 3, at 43-47). Brooks refers this Court
to Samantha Jenkins v. The City of Jennings,
4;l5cv252CEJ (E.D. Mo. Sept. 16, 2015) to support her
contention that her discovery requests are relevant and
proportional to Count X and XI of her Complaint. In
Jenkins, the class of plaintiffs was comprised of
individuals who were jailed by Jennings because they were
unable to pay fines imposed by Jennings as a result of
traffic tickets or other minor offenses. In Jenkins,
it was alleged that Jennings imprisoned those plaintiffs
solely because they could not afford to make a monetary
payment related to fines issued by the municipal court. In
addition, it was alleged that no inquiry was made into the
individual's ability to pay the fines issued by the
Court. Jennings maintains that this case is inapposite
because Jennings never levied fines against Brison or issued
warrants for his failure to pay such fines. Instead of fining
Brison for his 2012 Theft charge and his 2013 Failure to
Appear charge, the municipal court ordered Brison to complete
a state-sponsored financial responsibility class after Brison
failed to appear in Court three times.
STANDARD FOR MOTION TO COMPEL
"[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense-including the existence, description,
nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or
other tangible things and the identity and location of
persons who know of any discoverable matter."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The Federal rules further provide for
limits on discovery requests. Specifically,
the court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery
otherwise allowed by these rules or by local rule 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).
26(b)(2)(C)(i)-(iii). Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure governs motions to compel discovery.
Requests 33 through 38 and Interrogatories 16 through
claims that these interrogatories and requests for production
are related to Count XI of her Complaint. Brooks asserts that
these requests are tailored to identify evidence in
Jennings' possession that it was operating a debtors'
17 asks Jennings to state the amount of its revenues
generated for 2012 through 2015 from (a) court-ordered fines
and fees, (b) the collection of court-ordered fines and fees
from legal violations; and (c) the issuance of warrants. (ECF
No. 68 at 6). Requests 35, 36, and 37 correspond to that
interrogatory and direct Jennings to produce documents
relating to the revenues generated by Jennings from its
fines, fees, collection efforts and warrants for 2012 to
2015. (ECF No. 68 at 6). Brooks claims that these requests
relate to the allegation in this case that Jennings was
levying exorbitant fines and costs in an effort to maximize
revenues and profits. (ECF No. 68 at 6).
18 asks Jennings to state the amount of expected police and
court revenue Jennings predicted in its revenue projections
for 2012 through 2015. (ECF No. 68 at 6). Request 38 likewise
seeks documents relating to Jennings' projections, goals,
and strategies for generating revenue from these fines, fees,
collection efforts and warrants for 2012 through 2015. Brooks
claims these requests relate to Jennings' scheme to use
this revenue to meet its yearly budget goals. (ECF No. 68 at
19 asks Jennings to state the number of hearings it held in
2012 through 2015 related to an individual's ability to
pay court-imposed fines prior to, during, or after the
individual was detained. (ECF No. 68 at 7). Interrogatory 20
asks Jennings to state the number of individuals in 2012
through 2015 who, as a result of such hearings, were ...