United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S FIRST MOTION TO
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
January 14, 2019, plaintiff Jermond King filed his first
motion to compel, dkt. , requesting that the Court order
the defendants to produce documents responsive to his Request
for Production Nos. 6 and 13-16.
King's Request for Production No. 6 requests documents
relating to “[a]ll lawsuits filed against and served
upon current and former GEO Group, Inc. employees at the New
Castle Correctional Facility, during the last five (5) years,
which alleged they failed to protect a prisoner(s) from
(an)other prisoner(s).” Dkt. 44-1 at 2. The
defendants' full response is:
Objection. The request is overly broad, burdensome, and
irrelevant to the allegations the Plaintiff has raised
against these Defendants. Moreover, the mere fact that a
lawsuit has been filed against any former or current GEO
employee is irrelevant to the claims of the Plaintiff herein.
Finally, to the extent any such lawsuit(s) exist, the same
are public documents, public records, and as burdensome on
the Plaintiff to locate as the Defendants.
Id. Mr. King alleges that as a pro se
litigant, he does not have the ability to search and obtain
copies of the requested lawsuits, even if they are public
records. Dkt. 44 at 2. He further alleges that these
documents are relevant to help him identify potential
witnesses that can testify about the widespread and
long-standing custom to hold Geo Group, Inc. liable for their
failure to protect inmates from other inmates. Id.
for Production Nos. 13-16 request information relating to
another inmate, Christopher Randall, including his conduct
report history, a print out from the OIS of his criminal
history, and the investigative records/files for all
incidents of violence and death he was accused of committing
or found to be responsible for. Dkt. 44-1 at 4-5. The
defendants' full response is:
Objection, this request should be directed to Offender
Christopher Randall as those records are personal to him or
to the Indiana Department of Correction as the offender at
issue is an offender of that entity, not of any named
Defendant herein. As a further objection, the exchange of
offender information about any offender to another offender
creates a security risk in that correctional facility.
Subject to and without waiving the objection, to the extent
Plaintiff tenders to Defendants a signed authorization from
Offender Randall permitting the disclosure of these documents
to Plaintiff and secures authorization from the Court
subsequent to a denial of the objection herein, said
documents will be tendered to Plaintiff if the same exist in
the custody or control of Defendant, The GEO Group, Inc.
Id. Mr. King alleges that the defendants'
objection that the request should be directed to Randall is
of no import as GEO Group, Inc. actually possess and has
access to the requested documents. He further notes that
because Randall assaulted and stabbed him, there is no way
Randall will sign a release to him. Lastly, the records will
show what the defendants knew about Randall and whether they
did their due diligence and investigated allegations about
Randall prior to the assault, which is critical to Mr.
King's deliberate indifference claim.
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) provides that
[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). The scope of discovery is broad,
and Mr. King has sufficient explained why his requests are
relevant to his claims in this action.
defendants failed to file a response to Mr. King's motion
to compel, and the time to do so has passed. The Court
generally expects responses to motions to compel, even those
filed by pro se litigants. The Court further notes
if the defendants had security concerns about a discovery
request, they should have filed a motion for protective order
instead of utterly failing to turn over any documents and
incorrectly asserting that the burden was on the plaintiff to
seek authorization from the Court. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(d)(2) (“Unacceptable Excuse for Failing
to Act. A failure described in Rule 37(d)(1)(A)
is not excused on the ground that the discovery sought was
objectionable, unless the party failing to act has a pending
motion for a protective order under Rule 26(c).”).
King's first motion to compel, dkt. , is
GRANTED. The defendants shall produce all
responsive, non-privileged documents responsive to Mr.
King's Request for Production Nos. 6, 13-16 by
February 15, 2019. To the extent required,
the defendants may file a motion for a protective order or
in-camera review as to any confidential documents.
The defendants shall file a notice of compliance within
fourteen (14) days of the issuance of this Order.