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Allen v. Lickman

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 6, 2015

DESHAWN ALLEN, Plaintiff,
v.
TOMMY LICKMAN, ET AL., Defendants. SENIOR

ORDER OVERRULING DEFENDANTS' OBJECTIONS [41, 54] TO ORDERS OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

ARTHUR J. TARNOW, District Judge.

The Court has referred all pretrial matters in this prisoner civil rights case to Magistrate Judge Morris. In November and December 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued Orders [39, 53] granting two discovery motions filed by Plaintiff. Defendants have filed Objections [41, 54] to each of these orders.

For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Objections are OVERRULED.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

In her Order [39] dated October 31, 2014, the Magistrate Judge summarized the subject matter of this case as follows:

Plaintiff Deshawn Steven Allen is a prisoner incarcerated by the Michigan Department of Corrections ("MDOC"). (Am. Compl., Doc. 6 at 2.) He has sued the Defendants in their individual capacities, asserting various violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state-based tort claims. ( Id. at 16-24.) The incidents at issue occurred over a course of months commencing in December 2011 when Plaintiff struck a prison guard, one of the current defendants, and was transferred to the administrative segregation unit. ( Id. at 5.) According to Plaintiff, Defendants then began to deprive him of food and water, contaminated what food they did give him, humiliated him, destroyed his legal papers and belongings, refused to let him submit grievances, and twice physically attacked him. ( Id. at 5-16.) On September 17, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Discovery and

Enforce a Subpoena [33]. Defendants filed a Response [37] on October 1, 2014, and Plaintiff filed a Reply [38] on October 14, 2014. The Magistrate Judge held a hearing on the motion on October 27, 2014. On October 31, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued an Order [39] granting Plaintiff's motion to compel. Defendants filed an Objection [41] to the Magistrate Judge's order on November 14, 2014. Plaintiff filed a Response [46] to the objection on December 1, 2014.

On December 2, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Initial Disclosures and Enforce a Subpoena [47]. Defendants filed a Response [51] on December 12, 2014, and Plaintiff filed a Reply [52] on December 19, 2014. The Magistrate Judge held a hearing on this motion on December 23, 2014. The same day, the Magistrate Judge issued an Order [53] granting the motion for the reasons stated on the record. Defendants filed an Objection [54] to this order on January 6, 2015. Plaintiff filed a Response [58] to the objection on January 22, 2015.

ANALYSIS

A district court may set aside a magistrate judge's order on a nondispositive pretrial matter if it is clearly erroneous or contrary to law. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); United States v. Curtis, 237 F.3d 598, 603 (6th Cir. 2001).

I. Plaintiff's First Request for Production

Plaintiff's first request for production asks Defendants to produce "all documents and things referring or relating to [Plaintiff] that are within [Defendants'] possession, custody, or control (including documents and things in the possession of [Defendants'] attorneys)." In her Order [39] dated October 31, 2014, the Magistrate Judge ordered Defendants to produce all documents and things responsive to this request. Defendants now argue that this order was clearly erroneous and contrary to law because Plaintiff's request for production is overbroad and improperly seeks documents and things in the possession of Defendants' counsel.

Defendants argue that the request for production "is clearly overbroad as it encompasses nonrelevant matters, such as documents that predate and postdate the relevant event, documents within the relevant time period [that] have no bearing on this case, and documents that are privileged."[1] The Magistrate Judge found that the request for production is not overbroad, reasoning as follows:

[T]he Defendants' material[s] likely relate to Plaintiff and the events at issue in the lawsuit; that is, they probably did not gather materials on extraneous matters, such as his favorite color or whether he sleeps on the top bunk in jail. The probability that their counsel's files contains irrelevant data ...

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