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Minyard v. Hooks

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

June 17, 2019

JAMES A. MINYARD, Plaintiff,
ERIK A. HOOKS, et al., Defendants.


          Frank D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on pro se Plaintiff's Motion to Compel, (Doc. No. 48), Motion for In Camera Viewing, (Doc. No. 59), Motion for Court to Issue Order on Motion to Compel, (Doc. No. 64), and Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 65).


         The Amended Complaint passed initial review on claims that Defendants Hooks, Guice, Mitchell and Hernandez violated Plaintiff's rights with regards to the handling of his mail at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution. (Doc. Nos. 18, 20). Defendants filed an Answer and the Court entered a Pretrial Scheduling Order setting the discovery cutoff date as January 28, 2019 and the dispositive motion due date as February 27, 2019. (Doc. Nos. 41, 42).

         Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel on December 20, 2018, (Doc. No. 48), arguing that he served Requests for Production on counsel for Defendants on October 30 and November 8, 2018, to which Defendants failed to respond within 30 days. Plaintiff wrote defense counsel a letter on December 10, 2018 pointing out that the responses were late and requesting immediate responses. Defendants' counsel did not respond to the letter but filed objections. Plaintiff wrote to counsel on October 30, 2018 in an attempt to resolve the dispute as required by the local rules. Defendants' objections are waived as a result of their failure to timely assert them. The belated objections that the discovery is irrelevant, burdensome, and privileged are meritless.

         Plaintiff attached to his Motion to Compel a 10/30/18 “Motion for Discovery” dated October 30, 2018, that he avers he mailed to defense counsel a second time on November 8, 2018, in which he requested the following discovery verbatim:

(1) Full list of all inmates who has placed grievances or complaints against the staff at Avery-Mitchell prison unit for the past five years for the same issues the Plaintiff had to file before the honorable courts and Judge. Opening of legal mail, taking items out of mail, newspapers, magazines, books without filling out filing out a censorship forms as required by policy.
(2) Statements of affidavits of truth from all staff who work second shift (A and B rotation) in Yancy Unit at Avery-Mitchell Correctional unit stating who told them (staff) to take items from newspapers, books, magazines, legal mail (open) without censorship form being filled out stating why.

(Doc. No. 48-1).

         Plaintiff also attached a Letter to defense counsel dated October 30, 2018, attempting to negotiate settlement of the case with defense counsel. (Doc. No. 48-3).

         In a second letter dated December 10, 2018 from Plaintiff to defense counsel, Plaintiff reminds counsel about his discovery requests of October 30 and November 8, states in part “I am sending a letter of Reminder in regards to my motions of Discovery sent on 10-30-18, 11-8-18. Requests for Admissions sent with Plaintiff's Interrogatories and Request for production of documents.” (Doc. No. 48-2). Plaintiff refers to his discovery request and his October 30 settlement letter and asks defense counsel to respond within 10 days.

         On April 24, 2019, the Court ordered Defendants to file a Response showing cause why Plaintiff's Motion to Compel should not be granted. (Doc. No. 54). In Defendants' Response in opposition to the Motion to Compel, (Doc. No. 57), Defendants state that Plaintiff was served on May 8, 2019 with documents responsive to Plaintiff's discovery requests 1 and 2 including grievances submitted by inmates confined at Avery Mitchell C.I. from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2018, shift narratives for the relevant time frame, and Avery Mitchell SOP related to the mailroom and publications received by inmates.

         Plaintiff filed a Reply, (Doc. No. 58), stating that Plaintiff received three years' worth (approximately 2500 pages) of the Second-shift security roster for staff at Avery Mitchell Yancy Unit that was never requested by Plaintiff, around 400 grievances filled out by inmates all over the state, fewer than 10 of which address grievances over legal mail and/or newspapers, and nothing else was received in response to the October 30 discovery request. Plaintiff argues that he sent interrogatories and requests for production of documents in good faith, that he requested admissions and Plaintiffs failed to respond, and that Defendants have waived objections by failure to timely respond. Plaintiff asks the court for in camera review to see if any of the documents requested are sensitive or privileged. Plaintiff reiterated this request in a Motion for In Camera Viewing, (Doc. No. 59). Plaintiff has now filed a Motion asking the Court to rule on his Motion to Compel. (Doc. No. 64).

         Plaintiff has also filed a Motion for Extension of Time in which he requests a 30-day extension to respond to Defendants' ...

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