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White v. Jindal

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

January 3, 2018

MARK WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
ROSILYN JINDAL, et al., Defendants.

          Judge AVERN COHN MAGISTRATE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MONA K. MAJZOUB, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Mark White filed this pro se civil rights case on December 13, 2013. (Docket no. 1.) He originally alleged claims against a number of defendants related to his healthcare while imprisoned at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan, but those claims have been dismissed based on the applicable statutes of limitations and for improper joinder. (Docket no. 73 at 6-8.) His remaining claims relate to his refusal to “snitch” on fellow inmates and the alleged failure of Gus Harrison officials-Defendant Paul Klee, the Warden at the Gus Harrison Facility; Defendant Lee McRoberts, the Deputy Warden; and Defendant C. Condon, a Resident Unit Manager (“Defendants”)-to properly protect him from gang members. (Docket no. 14, pp. 5-6.)

         On September 15, 2015, the Court appointed counsel to represent Plaintiff. (Docket no. 121.) On April 1, 2016, however, the Court granted Plaintiff's counsel's motion to withdraw from the case, following a “fundamental breakdown in the attorney-client relationship, ” which counsel alleged was “caused by [Plaintiff's] belligerent insistence upon taking action [counsel] believes to be legally unjustified.” (Docket no. 133 at 6-7.)

         This matter is presently before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Reopen Discovery & Amend Witness List due to Newly Discovered Evidence (docket no. 205), which was referred to the undersigned for a report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (Docket no. 208.) The motion is being reviewed without oral argument pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f)(2).

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's Motion to Reopen Discovery & Amend Witness List due to Newly Discovered Evidence be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff should be permitted to amend his witness list in order to add Mr. Ramon Arthur Pfromm. However, the Court should reopen discovery in this matter only for the limited purpose of deposing Mr. Pfromm, which, if Defendants wish to pursue, should occur within 30 days of any order adopting this Report and Recommendation.

         II. REPORT

         The factual history of this case is recounted in detail in an Opinion and Order filed on January 14, 2015 (docket no. 97), an Order filed on April 1, 2016 (docket no. 133), as well as a Report and Recommendation dated October 20, 2016. Accordingly, the factual background will only be repeated or expanded herein to the extent necessary to explain the recommendations stated above. This Report will address Plaintiff's Motion to Reopen Discovery & Amend Witness List due to Newly Discovered Evidence. (Docket no. 205).

         A. Background

         Plaintiff filed his original pro se complaint and motion for a temporary injunction on December 13, 2013. (Docket nos. 1, 3.) On February 11, 2014, Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint. (Docket no. 14.) The amended complaint added Defendants McRoberts and Condon. (Id. at 1.) It largely repeats the allegations made in the first complaint but also adds some factual detail. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that due to an “explosion of thefts & fights due to gang activity” in November 2013, Plaintiff was asked by his assistant unit managers, King and Donaghy, to provide information about individual gang members. For fear of retribution, Plaintiff refused to provide any information. Plaintiff alleges that due to his refusal, Defendants began retaliating against him. He describes incidents of King and Donaghy taking his property and issuing “major misconducts” against him, Defendant Condon implying loudly and within earshot of other inmates that Plaintiff was a “snitch” during a misconduct hearing, and being moved to a prison unit with “numerous gangsters disciples, ” where he was threatened and physically assaulted. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff contends that Defendants' actions amount to a conspiracy to punish him for exercising his First Amendment rights, and further alleges that Defendants are “refusing to provide proper protection” in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Id. at 7.)

         On January 14, 2015, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel. (Docket no. 97.) On August 13, 2015, while Plaintiff was still waiting for the appointment of counsel, the Court addressed several outstanding motions, many of which dealt with outstanding discovery and counsel-appointment issues. (Docket no. 119.) Most notably, the Court acknowledged the “necessity for protecting the sensitive nature of the documents requested by Plaintiff” and noted that “Defendants . . . have compiled the requested documents, and they will produce them to Plaintiff's attorney when one is appointed.” (Id. at 6-7.) On September 30, 2015, the Court secured counsel for Plaintiff. (Docket no. 121.) On January 19, 2016, and again on February 4, 2016, the Court held status conferences with counsel regarding this matter. (See docket nos. 123 and 124.) By February 4, 2016, however, Plaintiff's appointed counsel indicated that the attorney-client relationship had broken down and that counsel intended to file a motion to withdraw. On March 3, 2016, the Court took Plaintiff's counsel's motion under advisement and ordered that Defendants provide the attorney's-eyes-only documents to the Court for in camera review. Defendants submitted the documents to the Court on March 17, 2016, and the undersigned took judicial notice of several facts contained in the materials produced. (Docket no. 133.)

         In February of 2016, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint, which added claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) and the Michigan Government Tort Liability Act, M.C.L. §§ 691.1401-1407. (Docket no. 128.) In this version of the complaint, Plaintiff requested “punitive, declaratory, compensatory and future damages against each named defendant in excess of $25, 000, ” as well as “future injunctions and restraining orders against any further placement at a facility with the named Defendants and inmates named in this action” and “any further relief deemed just and appropriate.” (Id. at 20.) The Court granted in part Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend, and adopted the complaint attached as Exhibit A to docket no. 128 as Plaintiff's second amended complaint. (Docket nos. 166, 168.)

         Discovery in this matter closed on April 28, 2017 (docket no. 169), and on August 8, 2017, the undersigned certified completion of pretrial proceedings. (Docket no. 201.) Plaintiff now requests the Court to: (1) reopen discovery for an additional 90 days; (2) allow Plaintiff to amend his witness list to add Ramon Pfromm; (3) order that Mr. Pfromm's testimony is relevant and admissible; (4) order Defendants “to provide all previous discovery for Plaintiff to examine and take notes or copy as previously ordered”; and (5) ...


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