United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
removed this action, filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on
the basis of federal question jurisdiction. (Doc. 1.)
Plaintiff Curtis Stewart alleges excessive force and cruel
and unusual punishment claims. (Doc. 2.) Presently pending
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel
Discovery. (Doc. 11.)
propounded Requests for Production to Defendants, which
Defendants answered on May 1, 2019. (Doc. 18-1.) On July 8,
2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Discovery, in which
he argues Defendants have failed to provide certain materials
and have “suppress[ed], altered or destroyed”
various pieces of evidence. (Doc. 11 at p. 7.) In their
Response, Defendants state that Plaintiff's Motion should
be denied because he failed to attempt to meet and confer
with Defendants prior to filing his Motion. Defendants
further argue that they have either produced the requested
documents or have properly objected to the requests. They
claim that Plaintiff's allegations regarding the
suppression or destruction of evidence are unsupported.
threshold matter, any motion plaintiff files relating to
discovery or disclosure, such as a motion to compel, must
comply with Local Rule 3.04(A) and Rule 37(a)(1), Fed. R.
Civ. P. These rules require that a discovery
or disclosure-related motion include a statement of a
good-faith attempt to resolve the discovery dispute prior to
the filing of the motion. Plaintiff has failed to provide
such a statement.
Plaintiff is incarcerated, he must correspond with opposing
counsel with respect to any discovery or disclosure dispute
prior to filing a motion to compel or other motion relating
to discovery or disclosure. Plaintiff must then describe the
nature of that correspondence in the discovery motion, as
required by Local Rule 3.04(A). See Faretta v.
California, 422 U.S. 806, 834B35 n. 46 (1975) (pro se
litigant must comply with relevant rules of procedure).
Plaintiff is warned that any future discovery-related motion
Plaintiff files that does not contain such a statement will
be summarily denied.
Motion to Compel, Plaintiff states that Defendants failed to
provide the following evidence: (1) camera/video footage of
the alleged incident; (2) duty rosters of all staff officials
and custody officers on duty during the incident; (3) a
complete copy of Plaintiff's enemy list; (4) a copy of
any procedures used once offenders request protective custody
or declare cellmates as enemies; (5) any incident report of
plaintiff on May 19, 2019 and May 22, 2017; (6) Institutional
Service Policy 20-23 regarding mechanical restraints; (7) any
policy that establishes camera/videotape footage maintenance
and storage; and (8) camera/videotape footage of William
Hayden and David Well.
state that they provided Plaintiff with his enemy list
pursuant to his request. (Doc. 18-1 at p. 2.) They objected
to Plaintiff's requests of the duty rosters and
administrative procedures regarding protective custody,
mechanical restraint, and video footage on the basis that
disclosure of this confidential information may jeopardize
prison safety and security. Id. at p. 2-3.
Defendants responded that they have been unable to locate any
video footage of the alleged incident, and that there are no
incident reports of Plaintiff on May 19, 2017 or May 22,
2017. Id. at p. 1-2. Finally, Defendants objected to
Plaintiff's request of video footage of offenders David
Wells and William Hayden on the basis that the request seeks
information that is not relevant to the issues in this
lawsuit. Id. at p. 3.
Rule 26, litigants may obtain “discovery regarding any
matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or
defense of any party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Even if
relevant, however, “discovery is not permitted where
there is no need shown or compliance would be unduly
burdensome, or where harm to the person from whom the
discovery is sought outweighs the need of the person seeking
the information.” Miscellaneous Docket Matter No. 1
v. Miscellaneous Docket Matter No. 2, 197 F.3d 922, 925
(8th Cir. 1999), quoting Micro Motion, Inc. v. Kane Steel
Co., 894 F.2d 1318, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 1990).
Court finds that Defendants' objections to
Plaintiff's requests as stated above are proper and
valid. Although the duty rosters and prison procedures
Plaintiff seeks are relevant to his claims, Defendants have a
valid interest in protecting confidential information and
ensuring prison safety. Plaintiff's request of video
footage of other offenders is not relevant to the issues in
this lawsuit. With regard to Plaintiff's request of video
footage of the incident and incident reports, Defendants have
represented that no such materials exist. Plaintiff's
allegations that Defendants have altered or destroyed this
evidence are completely unfounded. Finally, Defendants state
that they have provided Plaintiff with a copy of his enemy
list. Thus, Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery will
also requests that the Court appoint counsel to represent him
in this matter. There is no constitutional or statutory right
to appointed counsel in civil cases. Nelson v. Redfield
Lithograph Printing, 728 F.2d 1003, 1004 (8th Cir.
1984). In determining whether to appoint counsel, the Court
considers several factors, including (1) whether the
plaintiff has presented non-frivolous allegations supporting
his or her prayer for relief; (2) whether the plaintiff will
substantially benefit from the appointment of counsel; (3)
whether there is a need to further investigate and present
the facts related to the plaintiff's allegations; and (4)
whether the factual and legal issues presented by the action
are complex. See Johnson v. Williams, 788 F.2d 1319,
1322-23 (8th Cir. 1986); Nelson, 728 F.2d at 1005.
considering these factors, the Court finds that the facts and
legal issues involved are not so complicated that the
appointment of counsel is warranted at this time. Moreover,
Plaintiff has been able to prepare and file pleadings on his
own behalf. Thus, the Court will deny Plaintiff's motion
for appointment of counsel.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's
Motion to Compel Discovery (Doc. 11) is