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Castillon v. Corrections Corporation of America, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

September 2, 2014



EDWARD J. LODGE, District Judge.

Plaintiffs are prisoners in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC). Plaintiffs allege in this civil rights action that they were attacked by a number of other inmates at Idaho Correctional Center (ICC) and that Defendant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the private company that operated ICC at the time of the attack, violated the Plaintiffs' Eighth Amendment rights by understaffing the prison and thereby failing to protect them from the attack. Now pending before the Court are (1) Defendant's Motion for Protective Order Re: Plaintiffs' Amended Notice of 30(b)(6) Deposition to CCA (Dkt. 141), and (2) Plaintiffs' Second Motion to Compel (Dkt. 146).

Having carefully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the parties have adequately presented the facts and legal arguments in the briefs and record and that oral argument is unnecessary. D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order (1) granting in part and denying in part Defendant's Motion for Protective Order, and (2) granting in part and denying in part Plaintiffs' Second Motion to Compel.

1. Defendant's Motion for Protective Order

On April 15, 2014, Defendant moved for a protective order with respect to certain topics listed in Plaintiffs' Notice of Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition. The deposition took place on April 16 and 17, 2014, and Defendant has notified the Court that "the parties were able to resolve most of the issues set forth in CCA's Motion for Protective Order." (Dkt. 142 at 2.) Therefore, the "sole remaining issues" in Defendant's Motion are Topics 3(b), 9, 10(h), 10(h)(i) and 10(h)(ii). ( Id. at 2-3.)

A. Standard of Law

A party "may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense-including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons who know of any discoverable matter." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Relevant information includes "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." Oppenheimer Fun, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978). A party seeking a 30(b)(6) deposition of an organization "must describe with reasonable particularity the matters for examination." Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6).

For good cause, a court may issue a protective order "to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense" with respect to another party's discovery requests. Fed. R. Civ. 26(c)(1). "For good cause to exist, the party seeking protection bears the burden of showing specific prejudice or harm will result if no protective order is granted." Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1210-11 (9th Cir. 2002). The Court has "broad discretion... to decide when a protective order is appropriate and what degree of protection is required." Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 36 (1984).

B. Topic 3(b): Preservation of Evidence

Topic 3(b) in Plaintiff's Notice of 30(b)(6) Deposition requests that the deponent be able to testify regarding "[a]ll instructions to CCA, its agents and its employees to preserve all potentially relevant evidence and cease all ordinary document destruction or computer backup overwriting once CCA should have reasonably anticipated litigation by the Plaintiffs arising out of the May 5, 2012 attack." (Dkt. 141-5 at 6.) The Court determines that this evidence is relevant because it might lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. It appears that some video footage potentially relevant to Plaintiffs' claims has been overwritten, whether by routine practice, accidentally, or intentionally. The Court does not determine at this time that Defendant engaged in any wrongdoing regarding this footage, but the scope of discovery is necessarily broad, and Plaintiffs might learn of instructions or policies related to the footage. Defendant states, in a conclusory fashion, that discovery related to evidence preservation policies is "burdensome, " but has not specifically identified any undue burden. Thus, the Court will deny Defendant's Motion with respect to Topic 3(b).

C. Topic 9: Mitigation of Damages

Topic 9 of Plaintiff's 30(b)(6) deposition notice requires the deponent to testify regarding the "facts or data CCA contends mitigates the need for a substantial punitive damage verdict in this case." (Dkt. 141-5 at 11.) CCA contends that this topic is not described with reasonable particularity as required by Rule 30(b)(6). (Dkt. 141-1 at 9-10.) The Court agrees. Requiring Defendant to prepare a deponent to testify as to all such matters is overbroad and unduly burdensome. "Even under the present-day liberal discovery rules, [a party] is not required to have counsel marshal all of its factual proof and prepare a witness to be able to testify on a given defense or counterclaim." In re Independent Service Organizations Antitrust Litigation, 168 F.R.D. 651, 654 (D. Kan. 1996) (internal quotation marks omitted). Therefore, the Court will grant Defendant's Motion with respect to Topic 9.

D. Topics (10)(h), 10(h)(i), and 10(h)(ii): Compensation Plans of Myers and Conry

Topic 10(h) relates to the "terms and conditions of incentive/bonus compensation plans... that are affected in whole or in part by salaries or wages in the prisons" under the supervision of two CCA employees (Managing Director Myers and Vice President of Facility and Operations Conry), (Dkt. 141-5 at 12.) The Court concludes that, although supervisory employees Myers and Conry apparently were not directly involved in the day-to-day management of ICC, certain specific terms of their compensation plans might be relevant to Plaintiffs' allegations that CCA provided incentives and bonuses for keeping salary and wage costs down, which in turn might implicate Plaintiffs' assertions that CCA or CCA employees deliberately understaffed its facilities. However, Plaintiffs will be allowed to question the 30(b)(6) deponent only with respect to the specific allegations that understaffing the prison could result in bonuses or other incentive payments to Myers or Conry. A ...

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