United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JOSE A. AYUSO
BUTKIEWIEUS, et al.
RULING ON MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY [Doc.
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff Jose A. Ayuso (“plaintiff”) has filed a
“Motion for Pre-Trial Evidentiary Hearing (In Camera
Review)” seeking in camera review of documents produced
by defendant Lieutenant Roy (“defendant” or
“Roy”) in response to plaintiff's requests
for production (“RFP”) dated July 13, 2018. Doc.
#105. In that motion, plaintiff also seeks production of
additional materials. See id. at 2, 4. Accordingly,
the Court construes plaintiff's motion as a motion to
compel additional production of documents. Defendant did not
object to the motion, and on January 22, 2019, this Court
agreed to conduct the requested in camera review.
See Doc. #114. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court DENIES, in large part, and
GRANTS, in part, plaintiff's motion to compel
a prisoner, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§1983, alleging violations of the First and Eighth
Amendments to the United States Constitution by correctional
officials working at MacDougall Correctional Institute.
See generally Doc. #54. Specifically, plaintiff
brings: “(1) [a] First Amendment retaliation claim ...
against defendants Butkiewieus and Roy and (2) an Eighth
Amendment deliberate indifference claim against defendants
Melendez and Bosque related to the confiscation and retention
of the plaintiff's eyeglasses[.]” Doc. #43.
Plaintiff alleges a violation of his rights under the First
Amendment based on alleged retaliation against plaintiff for
a grievance he filed on January 12, 2015, in response to a
“shakedown” of his cell conducted in December
2014, which resulted in confiscation of his property.
See Doc. #54 at 5, 11. Plaintiff also claims that he
was threatened with the issuance of a disciplinary report,
which would result in the loss of privileges, if plaintiff
did not become an informant for Roy and Butkiewieus. See
id. at 6-9, 14. Additional details regarding
plaintiff's claims are set forth in the Court's
ruling on plaintiff's first motion to compel.
See Doc. #93 at 1-4.
relevant to the instant motion, on July 24, 2018, counsel for
defendant received a set of requests for production from
plaintiff. See Doc. #80 at 22, n.1. Defendant, after
an extension of time was granted, provided his responses and
objections to plaintiff on September 24, 2018. See
id. Plaintiff argued that defendant's responses were
insufficient to meet his discovery obligations and filed a
motion to compel production of additional materials.
See Doc. #80. Following this Court's November
14, 2018, order granting, in part, plaintiff's first
motion to compel, see Doc. #93, defendant provided
plaintiff with supplemental responses. See Doc.
#116; Doc. #117.
December 27, 2018, plaintiff filed the instant motion seeking
an in camera review of the supplemental responses provided by
defendant. See Doc. #105. This Court granted
plaintiff's request for in camera review on January 22,
2019, absent objection, see Doc. #114, and defendant
subsequently provided the Court with separate redacted and
unredacted copies of all material provided to plaintiff in
response to plaintiff's July 24, 2018, requests for
production, see Doc. #116; Doc. #117; Doc. #118;
Doc. #119. Documents #116 and #117 are copies of the
materials plaintiff received in response to his request for
production; Documents #118 and #119 are unredacted versions,
which have not been provided to plaintiff.
contends that the responses defendant has produced to date do
not satisfy his discovery obligations, and moves to compel
additional production. See generally Doc. #105.
26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth
the scope and limitations of permissible discovery:
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). “[T]he burden of
demonstrating relevance [is] on the party seeking
discovery.” Bagley v. Yale Univ., 315 F.R.D.
131, 144 (D. Conn. 2016) (citation and quotation marks
omitted), as amended (June 15, 2016).
“‘Relevance' under Rule 26(b)(1) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure has been construed broadly
to include ‘any matter that bears on, or that
reasonably could lead to other matter that could bear on, any
issue that is or may be in the case.'” Sullivan
v. StratMar Sys., Inc., 276 F.R.D. 17, 19 (D. Conn.
2011) (quoting Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders,
437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978)). Once the party seeking discovery
has demonstrated relevance, “[t]he party resisting
discovery bears the burden of showing why discovery should be
denied.” Cole v. Towers Perrin Forster &
Crosby, 256 F.R.D. 79, 80 (D. Conn. 2009).
motion seeks review of the redacted contents of documents
produced in response to RFP #11 and #14, and alleges that
defendant's responses to RFP #1, #2, #3, #5, #6, #8, #10,
#15, and #18 are insufficient. See generally Doc. #105.
threshold matter, the Court notes that plaintiff appears to
be under the impression that the contents of Doc. #117, which
is defendant's December 12, 2018, redacted response to
RFP #11 and #14, are intended to be responsive to
all of the July 24, 2018, requests for production.
Plaintiff raises objections to various responses by defendant
on the ground that plaintiff is unable to determine if the
responses are complete due to the heavy redaction. See
e.g. Doc. #105 at 3 (noting concerns related to
redaction of documents related to RFP #3, #5, #6, and #8).
has provided plaintiff with additional unredacted materials,
and has both provided and identified documents specific to
the requests for production as to which the Court granted
plaintiff's fist motion to compel. See generally
Doc. #116 at 75-99. Doc. #117 is responsive only to
RFP #11 and #14. See Doc. #116 at 100.
Defendant's supplemental responses to other requests for
production, made on December 4, 2018, are contained at pages
75 to 99 of Doc. #116.
response to RFP #5, #6, #8, #10, and #18, defendant
states either that he is not in possession of any responsive
materials at all, or that he has provided all responsive
materials in his possession. See Doc. #116 at 78-80,
83. The Court accepts these representations and finds that no
further response is necessary. See Mirmina v. Genpact
LLC, No. 3:16CV00614(AWT)(SALM), 2017 WL 3189027, at * 2
(D. Conn. July 27, 2017) ...