United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow
OPINION AND ORDER
STEVEN WHALEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
January 17, 2014, Plaintiff Robert Annabel, a prison inmate
in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections
(“MDOC”), filed a pro se civil complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. #1], asserting First
Amendment retaliation and Due Process claims against
Defendants Campbell, Eaton, Frost, Kindinger, and McConnell.
Before the Court are his motion to compel discovery filed on
January 3, 2017 [Doc. #73] and his motion to compel discovery
filed on February 16, 2017 [Doc. #84]. For the reasons and
under the terms discussed below, the motions are GRANTED IN
PART AND DENIED IN PART.
Watrobski v. FCA US, LLC, 2017 WL 4073955, at *1
(E.D. Mich. 2017), Magistrate Judge Majzoub described the
general principles of discovery under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26:
“The scope of discovery under the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure is traditionally quite broad. Lewis v.
ACB Bus. Servs., 135 F.3d 389, 402 (6th Cir. 1998).
Parties may obtain discovery on any matter that is not
privileged, is relevant to any party's claim or defense,
and is proportional to the needs of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). ‘Relevant evidence' is ‘evidence
having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is
of consequence to the determination of the action more
probable or less probable than it would be without the
evidence.' Fed.R.Evid. 401. Information need not be
admissible in evidence to be discoverable. Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). But the scope of discovery is not unlimited.
‘District courts have discretion to limit the scope of
discovery where the information sought is overly broad or
would prove unduly burdensome to produce.' Surles ex
rel. Johnson v. Greyhound Lines, Inc., 474 F.3d 288, 305
(6th Cir. 2007).”
Court's discretion is broad in determining the scope of
discovery or whether a “discovery request is too broad
and oppressive.” Surles, at 305.
Plaintiff's various interrogatories, requests to admit
(“RTA”) and a document request, along with each
Defendant's responses, are found as Exhibits to
Defendants' response to each motion. See Doc.
#78 (Response to Motion #73] and Doc. #86 (Response to Motion
#84). The discovery requests at issue with respect to each
Defendant are set forth and discussed below.
#84 Int. 22-answered.
23- Plaintiff requests locations of security cameras at the
Gus Harrison Facility. This request is both irrelevant and
non-discoverable because of institutional security concerns.
In general terms, this also runs counter to the
proportionality standard of Rule 26(b).
and #9 ask Defendant to admit to the authenticity of
Plaintiff's exhibits. Defendant correctly declines to
admit or deny because he has no knowledge or independent
ability to verify.
and Int. 8 request grievance identifiers for all grievances
filed at Gus Harrison since July, 2010 with a certain
rejection code at Step I, and grievances since July, 2010
that named Defendant. Defendant properly objected to this
request as irrelevant and that the burden of production would
outweigh the likely benefit. Defendant also notes that Step I
grievances are only maintained at the institution for three
years, and Step III grievances are only maintained in Lansing
for six years. Furthermore, Defendant states that providing
grievance material from other prisoners creates a security
concern. I agree.
#10 and Int. #11 requests the “ratio of
rejections” of all grievances filed by Plaintiff at Gus
Harrison for identified time frames. Defendants object as
irrelevant and burdensome. The percentage of rejections of
Plaintiff's other grievances is not relevant to the
question of whether Plaintiff was retaliated against. He
undoubtedly has a First Amendment right to file grievances,
but the outcome of grievances unrelated to those at issue in
this case is irrelevant to the question of whether he
suffered retaliation by these Defendants because of
filing grievances, regardless of whether those
grievances were upheld.
#19 asks for all prisoner lawsuits in which Defendant was a
named Defendant, or where he was not a named party, but was
alleged to have participated with the named defendants. As
phrased, this is overly broad. However, it is fair game for
Plaintiff to request all prisoner lawsuits where Defendant
was alleged to have retaliated against an inmate in violation
of the ...