United States District Court, D. Nevada
WILLIAM G. COBB, Magistrate Judge.
Before the court are three related motions, two filed by Plaintiff and the third by Defendants. The court ruled on all three motions during a hearing held on July 24, 2014, and this written order follows.
First, Plaintiff filed a Motion to hold Defendants' Counsel in Contempt and an Order Imposing Sanctions Against the Defendants. (Doc. #251.) Defendants filed a response (Doc. # 257) to which Plaintiff replied. (Doc. # 264.)
Next, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Court Order Transcribing the May 16, 2014, Court Hearing (Doc. # 263), to which Defendants filed a response. (Doc. # 268.)
Finally, Defendants' filed a Motion to Seal Doc. # 257 Response to Motion, Exhibits B and D. (Doc. # 258.) No response has been filed.
For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's motions (Doc. ## 251 and 263) are DENIED, and Defendants' motion (Doc. # 258) is GRANTED.
This is a prisoner civil rights action brought against Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for injuries allegedly sustained during a cell extraction and the subsequent escort of Plaintiff from the housing unit to "visiting holding." ( See Compl., Doc. # 1-2 at 1.) On September 1, 2011, Defendants removed this action form the Seventh Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada. ( See Notice of Removal, Doc. # 1.) At all times relevant to this action, Plaintiff was an inmate in the custody of Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC), housed at Ely State Prison (ESP). In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Zimmer failed to protect him from harm caused by his cellmate, and that Defendants Hammock, Horsley, Manning, and Rowley used excessive force against him during a related subsequent escort. (Compl., Doc. # 1-2 at 1.)
The three current motions stem from two discovery orders issued by this court. First, on April 17, 2014, the court issued an order directing Defendants to supplement their responses to certain of Plaintiff's discovery requests, including Request Nos. 44 and 45, which are the subject of the present motions. (Doc. # 236 at 26-27.) Specifically, Defendants were ordered to produce certain materials pertaining to the 2009 NDOC policies and procedures for cell extraction, sought in Plaintiff's Request No. 44. ( Id. at 26.) The court further ordered Defendants to produce an interview between investigator Thompson and inmate Hubble, sought in Plaintiff's Request No. 45. ( Id. at 27.) The order provided that Defendants' supplemental responses were to be filed no later than May 2, 2014. ( Id. )
Second, on May 16, 2014, the court held a discovery status conference (Doc. # 249) in order to "resolve any remaining discovery issues as soon as possible, and avoid further delay of this litigation." ( See Minutes of Proceedings, Doc. # 249 at 2.) During the hearing, it was determined that Defendants had provided all supplemental responses they were ordered to produce (Doc. # 236), with the exception of Request Nos. 44 and 45. The court determined at that all supplemental responses which were provided by the May 2 deadline were sufficient and complied with the court's order (Doc. # 236). ( Id. )
Also during the May 16 hearing, with respect to Request No. 44, Defendants indicated that they had partially complied with the court's order regarding these materials by making the relevant portions of NDOC policies and procedures for cell extraction available to Plaintiff in the warden's office at ESP (Doc. # 249 at 3.) However, with respect to the 2009 training manuals for cell extraction also sought in Request No. 44, Defendants indicated that the documents had recently been retrieved from archives, and that they were currently in the process of clarifying which of the training materials retrieved were actually utilized in 2009. ( Id. )
Defendants further stated at the hearing that, in attempt to fully comply with the court's order (Doc. # 236), they had mailed to Plaintiff "Defendants' Third Supplemental Response to Plaintiff's Request for Production of Documents" (Doc. # 250) on May 2, 2014. Defendants indicated that this document explained the reasons for their delay in producing the 2009 training manuals. ( See Doc. # 250 at 6.) However, Plaintiff stated at the hearing that as of May 16, he had not received nor had access to "Defendants' Third Supplemental Response." (Doc. # 249 at 3.)
In response to the forgoing, the court issued the following instructions to Defendants during the May, 16, 2014 hearing:
In light of the rapidly approaching dispositive motion(s) deadline [May 30, 2014], the court reiterates the importance and sense of urgency that needs to be present to bring finality to the discovery matters in this case. The warden's and medical office of Ely State Prison shall be advised of the urgency in these matters. The court directs Ms. Fairbank to immediately arrange and coordinate with the warden's office a time for Mr. Manley to review the documents submitted by the Defendants. Ms. Fairbank shall email a copy of "Defendants' Third Supplemental Response to Plaintiffs Request for Production of Documents" to the appropriate person at the institution and then have it delivered to Plaintiff so he has possession of the documents during his review of the documents. Additionally, Ms. Fairbank shall write a letter to Mr. Manley explaining and itemizing what has been produced in this case (i.e., what documents will he find in the warden's office, the date responses were produced, etc.). The letter shall be faxed or emailed to the warden today and delivered to Plaintiff immediately.
See Minutes of Proceedings, Doc. # 249 at 4, ¶ 2; (emphasis added).
A. Plaintiff's Motion for Contempt and Sanctions (Doc. # 251)
In his motion, Plaintiff argues that contempt sanctions are warranted for Defendants' failure to follow the discovery orders contained in Doc. ## 236, 249. Specifically, Plaintiff contends that Defendants have failed to produce the 2009 NDOC training manuals sought in Request No. 44, and that they also failed to produce the interview with inmate Hubble sought in Request No. 45. Plaintiff contends that Defendants' failure to produce these documents by May 2, 2014, puts them in violation of the court's April 17 order (Doc. # 236). Plaintiff further alleges Defendants failed to comply with the court's subsequent ...