United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion (ECF No.
115) to compel Defendant City of St. Louis to allow
Plaintiffs' expert to complete inspection of the Medium
Security Institution (“MSI”). For the reasons set
forth below, the motion will be granted in part and denied in
seven named Plaintiffs filed this action on behalf of
themselves and all others similarly situated against the City
of St. Louis, Missouri alleging various dangerous,
unsanitary, and inhumane conditions inside the MSI.
Plaintiffs, who were all held at MSI at various times in
2017, claim that detainees at MSI are subjected to
insufficient ventilation and extreme heat; unsanitary
conditions including rodent and insect infestation,
overflowing sewage, and black mold; inadequate medical care;
overcrowding; inadequate staffing; violence; and retaliation
from staff. As relevant here, Plaintiffs' amended
complaint specifically describes faulty and regularly
malfunctioning air conditioning systems and mold growing from
the air vents, as well as severe overcrowding. E.g.,
ECF No. 22 ¶¶ 29, 42, 53, 85, & 110.
served Defendant a Request for Property Inspection pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34 on May 2, 2018,
requesting up to three expert witnesses be allowed to inspect
the facilities. Pursuant to this request and with
Defendant's consent, James Balsamo (“Mr.
Balsamo”), Plaintiffs' retained environmental
health and safety expert, arrived at MSI on October 30, 2018,
in order to inspect the health and safety conditions at the
jail to prepare his expert opinion. Plaintiffs assert this
inspection was intended to include the laundry, inmate
housing areas, shower areas, janitor sinks, day room areas,
janitorial supplies, storage areas, food storage and
preparation areas and other ancillary areas of the jail. Mr.
Balsamo conducted his inspection over nine hours, and at 7:00
p.m., Mr. Balsamo left the facility. However, Plaintiffs contend
that Mr. Balsamo was not allowed to complete his inspection
of the air conditioning system, food safety system, or the
fire suppression system at MSI.
months later, on July 30, 2019, Plaintiffs contacted
Defendant to request that Defendant allow Mr. Balsamo to
complete his inspection of the air conditioning, food safety,
and fire suppression systems. Plaintiffs assert completing
this inspection would take approximately six hours.
contends that Mr. Balsamo could and should have completed his
inspection during his initial visit to MSI, and denies that
Defendant prevented Mr. Balsamo from completing his
inspection. Defendant further asserts that Plaintiffs could
and should have raised any issues regarding the inspection
earlier. Defendant also opposes Plaintiffs'
current request because, according to Defendant, the
requested discovery is not relevant to Plaintiffs'
claims. Defendant asserts that Plaintiffs' inspection of
the fire suppression system is unnecessary and
disproportionate to the burden or expense that Defendant will
bear. Defendant has offered to produce photographs of the air
conditioners at MSI, and Defendant maintains that such
evidence is sufficient for Plaintiffs' discovery needs.
Defendant argues that Plaintiffs failed to describe each item
or category of items to be inspected in accordance with
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34 (b)(1)(A), or the time,
place, and manner for the inspection in accordance with Rule
34 (b)(1)(B). In support of this assertion, Defendant points
to an email from Plaintiffs on October 29, 2018 (the day
before the initial inspection) stating that, Mr. Balsamo:
would like to inspect the facility for life safety to include
review of fire drill, smoke detector, fire alarm and
emergency generator testing reports, overall pest control,
lighting, general sanitation and air velocity in housing
areas, food safety and sanitation practices, laundry
sanitation, clothing and bedding exchange policies and
practices, personal hygiene supplies availability and toilet,
shower and cell sanitation and medical treatment facility
safety and sanitation.
119 at 4.
argues that neither Plaintiffs' initial request, nor this
email sufficiently apprised Defendant of Plaintiffs'
desire to inspect the air conditioning, food safety, and fire
suppression systems, and that Plaintiffs' follow-up
correspondence in connection with their current request is
likewise insufficiently specific.
Rule of Civil ...