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Holbrook v. Walters

February 21, 2006

ROBERT L. HOLBROOK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SCOTT WALTERS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Vanaskie

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel production of documents responsive to his June 13, 2005, Request for Production of Documents. (Dkt. Entry 50.) Plaintiff challenges Defendants' objections to requests 4, 12, 13 and 14.*fn1 For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motion to compel will be denied.

II. Relevant Background and Procedural History

On January 6, 2003, Plaintiff Robert E. Holbrook, an inmate formerly confined at the State Correctional Institution (SCI)-Huntingdon, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Holbrook claims that while at SCI-Huntingdon he was placed in Administrative Custody ("AC") in anticipation of a separation transfer to a Long Term Segregation Unit ("LTSU") after being identified as a security threat and an anti-white extremist. Holbrook claims these designations were manufactured by defendant Walters in retaliation for Holbrook's pursuit of institutional grievances and complaints and his religious affiliations. (Dkt. Entries 1, 2, and 38.) The remaining Defendants are alleged to have failed to redress Walters' retaliatory actions once alerted to them.

On February 24, 2004, I granted Defendants' motion to dismiss Holbrook's Due Process claim challenging his AC placement. (See Dkt. Entry 25.) Plaintiff's claim of retaliation, which was not challenged by Defendants in their motion, is the sole surviving claim.

III. Discussion

Generally, courts afford considerable latitude in discovery in order to ensure that litigation proceeds with "the fullest possible knowledge of the issues and facts before trial." Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 501 (1947). The polestar of discovery is relevance. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) states that "[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party. . . . Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence." "[A]ll relevant material is discoverable unless an applicable evidentiary privilege is asserted. The presumption that such matter is discoverable, however, is defeasible." Pearson v. Miller, 211 F.3d 57, 65 (3d Cir. 2000).

Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 37 allows a party who has received evasive or incomplete discovery responses to seek a Court order compelling disclosure or discovery of the materials sought. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a). The moving party must demonstrate the relevance of the information sought.

Request Number 4

Produce the DOC internal policy, not DC-801, governing the handling and documentation of information from confidential informants. This includes:

(a) Procedures to be employed in handling Confidential Informants.

(b) The documentation methods employed.

(c) The storage and retrival [sic] of the ...


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