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Coleman v. Danforth

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

February 20, 2018

COREY LEWIS COLEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM DANFORTH, Warden, Telfair State Prison; SAM ZANDERS, Deputy Warden, Telfair State Prison; LT. RODNEY MCCLOUD, Unit Manager, Telfair State Prison; LIEUTENANT WILCOX, Telfair State Prison, SERGEANT JORDAN-THOMAS, Telfair State Prison; SERGEANT TAYLOR, Telfair State Prison; OFFICER BELL, Cert. Officer, Telfair State Prison; JOHN DOE, Cert. Officer, Telfair State Prison; JILL CRAVEY, Nurse, Telfair State Prison; and DR. CHANEY, Telfair State Prison, Defendants.

          ORDER

          BRIAN K. EPPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at Hancock State Prison in Sparta, Georgia, commenced the above-captioned case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 concerning events alleged to have occurred at Telfair State Prison in Helena, Georgia. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Second Motion to Compel Discovery and Motion for Sanctions. (Doc. nos. 135, 136.)

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff asserts Eighth Amendment claims for failure to protect against Defendants Danforth, Wilcox, Zanders, McCloud, Jordan-Thomas, Taylor, Bell, and John Doe, Eighth Amendment claims for denial of medical care against Defendants Cravey and Dr. Chaney, a First Amendment retaliatory transfer claim against Defendant Danforth, and Fourteenth Amendment Claims for administrative segregation without a hearing against Defendants Danforth, Zanders, and McCloud. (See doc. no. 43.) On August 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed his first motion to compel, which the Court granted in part and denied in part. (Doc. nos. 112, 125.) The Court ordered Defendants to supplement their discovery responses within fourteen days of its November 15, 2017 Order. (Doc. no. 125.)

         Plaintiff filed his second motion to compel and a motion for sanctions on January 5, 2018. (Doc. nos. 135, 136.) Plaintiff seeks production of documentary evidence in response to six discovery requests, and asks the Court to sanction Defendants for failure to produce the requested evidence sooner. (Id.) He argues he has repeatedly conferred with defense counsel to no avail, and Defendants have “willfully acted with conscious indifference” to the Court's Order compelling discovery. (Id.) Defendants contend they have produced all documents required by the Court's November 15th Order. (Doc. nos. 138, 139.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1), “Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense . . . . Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure strongly favor full discovery whenever possible, Republic of Ecuador v. Hinchee, 741 F.3d 1185, 1189 (11th Cir. 2013), and “[w]hen there is a doubt over relevancy, the court should still permit discovery, ” Coker v. Duke & Co., 177 F.R.D. 682, 685 (M.D. Ala. 1998). However, “the Court obviously cannot compel production of documents that do not exist” and “is generally entitled to rely on representations made in discovery requests and responses.” Hunter v. Corr. Corp. of Am., No. CV 314-035, 2015 WL 5042245, at *2 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 26, 2015) (internal citations omitted).

         A discovery motion must “include the specific ground for the motion or objection” and “may not be made generally.” Loc. R. 26.5(b)-(c). Plaintiff's motion does not satisfy this requirement because of its generalities. Nevertheless, despite this deficiency, the Court addresses each of Plaintiff's disputed requests on the merits in turn below.

1. Request for defendant Jordan-Thomas to produce the video footage from the state camera #329472 that she operated during this incident on July 15, 2013. (See doc. no. 113-1, Ex. 1. Interrogatory no. 6(b) p. 37).
2. Request for defendant Bell to produce the video footage from the state camera #329502 that he operated during this incident on July 15, 2013. (See doc. no. 113-1, Ex. 1. Interrogatory no. 6(b) p. 41).
3. Request for defendants Danforth, et al. to produce copies of all audio and video recordings/footage concerning incident on July 15, 2013. (See doc. no. 113-1, Ex. 1. Interrogatory no. 9 p. 12 and Interrogatory no. 10 p. 13).

         As noted in the Court's November 15th Order, Defendants produced five videos in response to Plaintiff's requests. (Doc. no. 124, pp. 8, 11.) Moreover, Defendants aver they “have produced all relevant surveillance footage of Plaintiff in their possession, custody, and control. Defendants are not in possession, custody, or control of additional surveillance footage of Plaintiff beyond what was already provided to him.” (Doc. no. 138, p. 4.) The Court is entitled to rely on Defendants' representations, and it cannot compel Defendants to produce video recordings that do not exist. See Hunter, 2015 WL 5042245, at *2 (“[T]he Court obviously cannot compel production of documents that do not exist [and] is generally entitled to rely on representations made in discovery requests and responses.”) (internal citations omitted). Accordingly, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion to compel as to Request Nos. 1, 2, and 3.

4. Request for defendant Wilcox to produce diagrams that depicts cafeteria, recreation yard, the area in front of D and E Buildings, E-Building quietroom, and Administrative Segregation cell E-2 #123 which are all relevant scenes. (See doc. no. 113-1, Ex. 1. ...

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