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Linares v. Mahunik

July 7, 2008

JORGE LINARES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DAVID MAHUNIK; JOHN BURGE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Randolph F. Treece United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION and ORDER

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Jorge Linares commenced this action by filing a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging deprivation of his civil rights. Dkt. No. 1. Plaintiff thereafter filed an Amended Complaint. Dkt. No. 9. Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. Dkt. No. 22. By Report and Recommendation, this Court recommended that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss be granted in part and denied in part. Dkt. No. 28. The Honorable Gary L. Sharpe, United States District Court Judge, adopted the Report and Recommendation in its entirety by Memorandum- Decision and Order filed on April 30, 2007. Dkt. No. 35. The following claims against Defendants Mahunik and Burge survived the Motion to Dismiss: (1) Plaintiff's First Amendment claims against Defendant Mahunik based on retaliation, and (2) Plaintiff's supervisory liability claim against Defendant Burge relating to the retaliation claims.*fn1 Dkt. No. 35 at p. 6.

Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery. Dkt. No. 52. Defendants filed a Response in Opposition to the Motion. Dkt. No. 55. Plaintiff has submitted a Reply to Defendants' Opposition. Dkt. No. 56. Plaintiff's Motion relates to his First Request for Interrogatories and Request for Production, both dated August 4, 2007. Dkt. No. 52, Exs. A & B. Defendants responded to the requests on December 3, 2007. See id., Exs. C & D. Thereafter Plaintiff filed the present Motion to Compel, seeking (1) responses to Interrogatories #5, #6, #8, & #9; (2) a copy of Defendant Mahunik's personnel file, including his disciplinary file; and (3) a copy of the Department of Corrections Employee's Manual. Dkt. No. 52, Jorge L. Linares Affirm., dated Mar. 26, 2008, at p.

1. Because the Defendants have responded to Plaintiff's discovery demands, the Court will only address the adequacy of the responses they provided.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Interrogatories

1. Interrogatory #5

Interrogatory #5 asked: "Did the defendant Mahunik at any time prior to and including the date of April 17, 2005, receive confidential information in regard[s] to plaintiff? If yes, state the date, the substance of the information received and the name and location of the individual on those dates." Dkt. No. 52, Ex. A, at ¶ 5. Defendant responded in part, indicating that he had received information "that plaintiff's cell had a shank in it." Dkt. No. 52, Ex C, at ¶ 5. Defendants objected to providing Plaintiff with the identity of the confidential informant "on the grounds that it is privileged and confidential under, inter alia, informant's privilege," it would "constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy and could risk the safety of the informant," and disclosure could jeopardize safety and security of the facility. Id.

The safety and security of the facility and the confidential informant outweighs Plaintiff's need for the requested information at this time. See Bass v. Grottoli, 1996 WL 455016, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 12, 1996) (noting the court's dual interests of protecting prisoners from other inmates as well as shielding from inmates information which may implicate prison security). This portion of Plaintiff's Motion is denied.

2. Interrogatory #6

Interrogatory #6 asked: "Did the defendant Mahunik at any time while the plaintiff was housed at Auburn plaintiff access [sic] to the law library and/or the chapel areas? If yes, state the dates and times for each incident." Dkt. No. 52, Ex. C at ¶ 6. Defendants object to the request as "unintelligible, vague and ambiguous." Id. It is clear that Plaintiff omitted the word "deny" from his request and that he intended to ask Defendant Mahunik if he ever denied Plaintiff access to the law library or chapel areas. While Plaintiff's First Amendment free exercise and access to the law library claims were dismissed, this information may be relevant to Plaintiff's claims that Defendant Mahunik took retaliatory action against Plaintiff. Defendants are therefore directed to, within thirty (30) days of the filing date of this Order, respond to Interrogatory #6 as clarified by the Court.

3. Interrogatory #8

Interrogatory #8 reads as ...


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