United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Christopher Baker, individually and on behalf of the present and future inmates of Henry County Jail, Plaintiff,
Richard McCorkle, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of Henry County, Bruce Baker, Kim Cronk, Ed Yanos, Richard Bouslog, Robin Reno-Fleming, Steven Dugger, Nathan Lamar, Clay Morgan, Michael Thalls, Harold Griffin, Henry County Commissioners, and Henry County Council, Defendants.
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge United States District
Christopher Baker brings this action on behalf of current or
future persons confined at the Henry County, Indiana Jail
(the “Jail”), and alleges that the Jail
is overcrowded in violation of his and the class members'
constitutional rights. The Court certified a class of
“[a]ny and all persons currently confined or who will
in the future be confined in [the Jail], ” and Class
Notices have been placed at the Jail. [Filing No.
85; Filing No. 126-1.] The parties have
disagreed regarding several issues related to Plaintiffs'
counsel's desire to tour and inspect the Jail, and these
disagreements resulted in Defendants filing a Motion for
Protective Order Regarding the Parameters of Plaintiffs'
Jail Tour and Inspection, [Filing No. 133]. After
the parties briefed the Motion for Protective Order, the
Magistrate Judge granted the motion and set forth specific
parameters to be followed during Plaintiffs'
counsel's Jail tour/inspection. [Filing No.
139.] Plaintiffs then filed a Motion Appealing the Order
of the Magistrate Judge and Posing Restrictions on a Visit to
the Henry County Jail, [Filing No. 140], which is
now ripe for the Court's consideration.
April 28, 2017, Defendants filed a Motion for Protective
Order, arguing that their motion was precipitated by the
parties' attempts to reach agreement on certain issues in
advance of the Jail tour/inspection, including whether
Plaintiffs' counsel could communicate with inmates during
the tour/inspection, and by events that took place when
Plaintiffs' counsel went to the Jail for the
tour/inspection. [Filing No. 133 at 1-4.] Defendants
argued that they attempted to address Plaintiffs'
counsel's desire to communicate with inmates during the
tour/inspection by offering that the Jail Commander introduce
Plaintiffs' counsel, explain that he was touring the Jail
in connection with a class action lawsuit, reference the
class notices that had already been posted at the Jail, and
inform the inmates that if they wanted to speak with
Plaintiffs' counsel they could contact him and their
calls would be toll free. [Filing No. 133 at 3.]
Defendants noted that the parties called the Magistrate Judge
from the Jail in an attempt to settle their disputes, but
that the Magistrate Judge would not rule without a motion
before him. [Filing No. 133 at 3.] Defendants argued
that Plaintiffs' counsel rejected the idea of being
introduced by the Jail Commander and left the Jail abruptly,
without carrying out a tour or inspection. [Filing No.
133 at 3-4.] Defendants asserted that the parameters
they had placed on Plaintiffs' counsel's visit
regarding contact with inmates is in line with their normal
touring procedures, and that Plaintiffs' counsel's
communication with inmates is unnecessary in light of the
Class Notices posted at the Jail. [Filing No. 133 at
5.] Because Plaintiffs' counsel would like to
reschedule the tour/inspection, Defendants requested that the
Court enter a protective order providing that: “(a) no
special introduction of Plaintiffs' counsel or
explanation of the purpose of their visit shall be made
during the upcoming jail tour/inspection; and (b)
Plaintiffs' counsel shall not speak to, address, or
otherwise communicate with the inmates, either individually
or in groups, during the upcoming jail
tour/inspection.” [Filing No. 133 at 7.]
response to the Motion for Protective Order, Plaintiffs
presented their version of the discussions before the
tour/inspection, and the events that took place when
Plaintiffs' counsel went to the Jail. [Filing No.
135.] Plaintiffs argued that counsel left the Jail
because he wanted to be able to introduce himself to the
inmates, and that Defendants' counsel “invent[ed]
reasons why this was inappropriate.” [Filing No.
135 at 4.] Plaintiffs asserted that attempting to place
limitations on counsel's visit “is a matter of
attempting to assert control over the plaintiff's
attorney rather than conduct discovery in a professional and
courteous manner.” [Filing No. 135 at 4.]
Plaintiffs also requested that the Court “issue an
order to show cause why the defendants['] counsel should
not be held in contempt of court.” [Filing No. 135
1, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued an Order granting
Defendants' Motion for Protective Order. [Filing No.
139.] The Magistrate Judge set forth the history of the
parties' dispute in detail, and found that Defendants had
shown good cause for the limitations they had requested. The
Magistrate Judge explained:
Defendants have indicated during Plaintiff's
counsels' prior jail inspections there was no express
limitation on Plaintiff's counsels' ability to
address and communicate with the inmates, which did result in
disruption during those tours. Per Defendants, a point not
refuted by Plaintiff, this disruption was a result of
Plaintiff's counsels' direct interaction with the
inmates during the tour.
In responding to Defendants' concerns, Plaintiff's
counsel has not explained the need to communicate directly
with inmates, either individually or in groups, during the
upcoming jail tour/inspection, nor has counsel explained why
the Sheriff's facilitation of communications between the
inmates and Plaintiff's counsel in accordance with the
jail's regular attorney-client visitation policies will
not serve Plaintiff's counsels' purposes. This is
essentially the proposal Plaintiff's counsel agreed to
during the April 12, 2018 email exchange - which counsel has
provided no explanation why the April 12, 2018, agreement was
no longer sufficient for Plaintiff's needs during the
April 17, 2018 tour. The purpose of the upcoming tour is to
conduct a physical premises/facility inspection; thus, these
communication limitations during the inspection do not impede
that purpose, which is a point unrefuted by Plaintiff in
countering the motion for protective order. The majority of
Plaintiff's response and Defendants' reply
illustrates each counsel's dissatisfaction for the
other's discovery management style. Of course, discovery
is to be a self-managed process - with very little Court
involvement - and the Court stresses to the parties that
personal attacks via motion practice are not an efficient use
of party or judicial resources.
No. 139 at 5.]
Magistrate Judge ordered that:
1. During the tour/inspection to be rescheduled from its
original April 17, 2018, date, Plaintiff's counsel shall
not personally, directly address or otherwise communicate
with inmates during the upcoming jail tour and inspection;
2. During the tour/inspection there shall be no introduction
of Plaintiff's counsel or explanation of the purpose of
their visit; and
3. The Henry County Sheriff will provide to Plaintiff's
counsel private, unrecorded attorney-client visits with any
and all inmates with whom they wish to meet in accordance
with the jail's attorney-client visitation policies and
procedures. The County Sheriff is to provide a list to
Plaintiff's counsel of the inmates currently housed in
the jail with their housing assignments no later than the
date of the rescheduled tour/inspection.
No. 139 at 6.] The Magistrate Judge rejected
Plaintiffs' request that the Court issue an order to show
cause why Defendants' counsel should not be held in
contempt of court for not allowing a scheduled inspection of
the Jail on April 17, 2018, reasoning that Plaintiffs had not
cited a court order that Defendants had failed to follow.
[Filing No. 139 at 6-7.] On June 7, 2018, Plaintiffs
filed the pending Motion ...