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Townsend v. Muckle

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 23, 2019

MUCKLE, et al., Defendants.



         On December 12, 2017, the plaintiff, Timothy Townsend, Jr., an inmate currently confined at the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution (“CRCI”) in Enfield, Connecticut, filed an amended civil rights complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against nine Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”) officials in their individual capacities: Correction Officer Steve Wales, Lieutenant Marc Congelos, Captain Daniel Dougherty, Correction Officer Joshua Lorenzen, Correction Officer John Doe 1, Correction Officer John Doe 2, Lieutenant Santiago Rangel, Correction Officer Jason Nemeth, and District Administrator Angel Quiros. Am. Compl., Doc. No. 10. I permitted his Eighth Amendment claims for excessive force and deliberate indifference to safety to proceed against Wales, Doe 1, and Doe 2 and his state law assault and battery claim to proceed against Wales based on allegations regarding an assault that occurred at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution (“Corrigan”) on January 21, 2015. Review of Am. Compl., Doc. No. 13, at 18. I also permitted Townsend's First Amendment retaliation claim to proceed against Lorenzen, his state law due process claim to proceed against Nemeth and Congelos, and his spoliation claim to proceed against Dougherty. Id. The following motions are pending in this case:

Motion to Compel Discovery, Doc. No. 37;
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Doc. No. 42;
Motion for Extension of Time to File Response to Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Doc. No. 56;
Motion to Add Affidavit to Defendants' Objection, Doc. No. 59;
Motion for Default Judgment, Doc. No. 60; and
Motion to Substitute Affidavit, Doc. No. 61.

         I. Motion to Compel Discovery, Doc. No. 37

         On March 28, 2019, Townsend filed a motion to compel the defendants to produce twenty-three requested discovery items. Mot. to Compel, Doc. No. 37. He claims that the defendants have provided “a stack of documents that are not separated by production request number [and] over four-hundred pages of [un]related medical records, ” thereby burdening him with the task of sifting through all of the records to determine whether they comply with his requests. Id. at 1. Townsend's requests included the “Log Book” of correction staff working at Corrigan on January 21, 2015, video footage, statements and recordings related to the events in question, e-mail exchanges between the defendants and other DOC personnel, the names of the John Doe defendants, and cell phone and social media account information for the defendants. Id. at 15-17.

         The defendants submitted an initial objection to Townsend's motion the same day, contending that their disclosures “include[d] all the materials which [Townsend] will need to try his case.” Defs.' Obj. to Pl.'s Mot. for Order of Compliance (“Defs.' First Obj.”), Doc. No. 40; Defs.' Initial Disclosures, Doc. No. 41. Included among those disclosures was a list of all staff members who were working in the area where the alleged assault took place, which the defendants argued would assist Townsend in identifying the Doe defendants. Defs.' First Obj. at 1; Defs.' Initial Disclosures at 1. In the same written correspondence, the defendants requested discovery from Townsend, including the names of witnesses he wished to present, a damages analysis statement, an explanation of any non-monetary relief sought, and copies of any grievances or complaints in his possession related to the events in question. Defs.' Initial Disclosures at 3.

         On May 10, 2019, I issued orders on several pending discovery motions but took the instant motion under advisement because counsel had only recently appeared on the defendants' behalf. Ruling on Pending Motions, Doc. No. 47. I encouraged both parties to discuss any remaining unresolved discovery issues in an effort to narrow those in dispute. Id. at 4.

         On August 10, 2019, the defendants filed a second objection to Townsend's motion to compel. Defs.' Second Obj. to Pl.'s Mot. for Order of Compliance (“Defs.' Second Obj.”), Doc. No. 58. The defendants contend that they have compiled additional discovery materials for Townsend, which were mailed on August 13, 2019. Id. at 2. To the extent Townsend still needs additional discovery, the defendants have indicated their willingness to confer with him in an attempt to resolve any issues. Id. Townsend has not replied to the second objection.

         In light of the defendants' recent indication that they have provided Townsend with additional discovery, Townsend's motion is DENIED without prejudice and discovery is extended for forty-five days. To the extent Townsend still requires discovery from the defendants, he must confer with defense counsel and attempt to achieve a mutually satisfactory resolution, pursuant to District of Connecticut Local Rule 37(a). In the event a resolution is not reached, Townsed may refile his motion to compel and attach an affidavit certifying that, despite a good faith effort, he was unable to resolve the discovery issue with defense counsel. See id. ...

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