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Goodvine v. Richards

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

August 7, 2019

CHRISTOPHER GOODVINE, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF RICHARDS, ET AL., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          STEPHEN L. CROCKER, MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Christopher Goodvine contends that staff at the Columbia County Jail violated his constitutional rights when he was incarcerated there in 2015. On October 23, 2018, the court granted Goodvine leave to proceed on (1) Eighth, First and Fourteenth Amendment claims against defendants Stuewer and Hatton; (2) Eighth and First Amendment claims against defendant Bursaw; and (3) Wisconsin battery claims against Stuewer, Bursaw and Hatton, all of which arose from an altercation between Goodvine and defendants on October 22, 2015. While Judge Conley will be resolving Goodvine's pending motion for reconsideration and the various motions related to defendants' motion to dismiss, in this opinion I will resolve defendants' motion to compel (dkt. 49) and motion to extend the dispositive motion deadline (dkt. 53).

         I. Motion to Compel (dkt. #49)

         Defendants seek an order compelling Goodvine to amend his responses to nine of Goodvine's responses to their discovery requests. Defendants also seek costs and fees incurred in bringing this motion. Defendants explain that Goodvine's January 30, 2019, responses to their discovery requests were inadequate in a number of respects, and that Goodvine has failed to respond to defense counsel's February 15, 2019, letter setting out how his responses were inadequate. I am resolving each complaint as follows:

         Interrogatory No. 1:

         Defendants asked Goodvine to provide all facts and produce all documents related to his appeal of his grievance to the sheriff, but Goodvine has not responded. Goodvine represents that he does not have any copies of any documents and that he already provided all relevant facts. If Goodvine has more information, then he must promptly turn it over. If he does not do so by August 21, 2019, then he will be precluded from later using in this lawsuit any information that would be responsive to this interrogatory for any purpose in this lawsuit. If he develops additional responsive information after August 21, 2019, then he must disclose it to defendants immediately.

         Interrogatory No. 4:

         Defendants asked Goodvine to identify and provide contact information for any witness to the conversation in which defendant Stuewer allegedly told Goodvine that he “like[d] to keep close tabs on you brothers from the hood.” Goodvine responded that he does not have the specific information that defendants requested: each witness's full name, telephone number, current address and a description of his relationship to them. However, in their February 15, 2019, letter to Goodvine, defense counsel modified their request, asking Goodvine to report whether the witnesses were inmates or employees, and requesting that Goodvine describe these individuals to the best of his abilities. (Dkt. #50-3.) Defendants' request is fair and Goodvine's response does not address defendants' acknowledgment that he might not have all the information. Accordingly, Goodvine must turn over whatever information he has about witnesses to the conversation referenced in Interrogatory No. 4 by August 21, 2019. Thereafter, Goodvine may supplement his response to this interrogatory as necessary as he collects more responsive information. Goodvine's failure to turn over this information will result in an order precluding him from admitting any evidence from witnesses to this conversation.

         Interrogatory No. 5:

         Defendants asked Goodvine to (1) identify inmates involved in the alleged plot by white inmates to get Goodvine removed from the Dorm or lose Huber privileges, (2) describe the evidence that supports Goodvine's allegation that the plot existed, and (3) describe the evidence Goodvine has to support his allegation that jail administrators knew about the plot. Goodvine responded that his evidence is his recollection of events and “witness's statements to him, ” but he did not provide the names of those witnesses. Defendant's requested the names of those witnesses in the February 15 letter, but Goodvine has not provided them, and he contends that defendants are in the best position to have that information. In any event, Goodvine claims he does not have the information defendants seek.

         Defendants have no reason to know who Goodvine intends to call as witnesses, and Goodvine provides no other explanation for refusing to turn over this information. Goodvine must turn over whatever information he has about witnesses who may testify about the alleged plot and that jail employees knew about the alleged plot by August 21, 2019. He may then supplement his response as necessary with more specific information. Goodvine's failure to turn over this information will result in an order precluding him from admitting any evidence from witnesses (other than himself) related to allegations that white inmates plotted to have him removed from the Dorm and/or have his Huber privileges revoked, and that any jail employees knew about it.

         Interrogatory No. 6:

         Defendants sought information related to Goodvine's allegations that there were confrontations between “Deputy Hatton and white inmates” where Hatton did not take disciplinary action against the white inmates. In particular, defendants requested the date of each alleged confrontation and the names of the inmates involved, and what evidence supported Goodvine's contention that Hatton took no action. Goodvine responded that he never witnessed such confrontations, and he now argues that this interrogatory did not track his allegations in his complaint accurately: he alleged that he witnesses instances of confrontation between only white inmates, and that Hatton, as a witness to those confrontations, took no action.

         Goodvine has a point: Goodvine did not allege that Hatton did not take disciplinary action against white inmates for confrontations between Hatton and white inmates. Accordingly, the court will not compel Goodvine to respond to this request as written, and defendants will be required to reframe this interrogatory. Under the circumstances, ...


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