United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS (ECF NOS. 69, 73,
Katherine Menendez United States Magistrate Judge
Donnell Fields is an inmate at the Minnesota Correctional
Facility in Rush City, MN (“MCF-Rush City”). Mr.
Fields brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that the defendants have violated his constitutional
right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by
deliberately disregarding his serious medical needs. (Am.
Compl., ECF No. 44.) This matter is before the Court on three
pretrial motions. First, Mr. Fields filed a document on
December 28, 2018 captioned “‘Proposed
Supplemental Complaint' I wanted to be able to file per
your order dated: 11-16-2018, but I threaten by
defendants/banned from the law library for 90 days, ”
(ECF No. 101), which relates to an issue addressed by a prior
Order of the Court. Second, the parties' dispute
regarding Mr. Fields's request for the Defendants to
produce certain personnel records is ripe for a decision.
(See Order (Nov. 27, 2018), ECF No. 79; Defs.'
Mem., ECF No. 84.) And third, the Court addresses Mr.
Fields's request regarding specific expert witnesses.
(ECF No. 69 at 8.)
“Proposed Supplemental Complaint”
November 16, 2018, the Court entered an Order construing a
submission from Mr. Fields as a motion seeking leave to file
a supplemental pleading. Mr. Fields alleged that the DOC
Defendants and other Minnesota Department of
Corrections employees were retaliating against him for filing
this lawsuit and discriminating against him based on his
race. (See Order (Nov. 16, 2018), ECF No. 75.) The
Court declined to grant leave to file a supplemental
complaint at that time because Mr. Fields had not submitted a
proposed supplemental pleading, failed to clarify which
claims he wanted to add to this case, did not clearly
indicate who he intends to sue on each of those claims, and
left ambiguities as to which factual allegations formed the
basis for his claims against specific defendants.
(Id.) Accordingly, the Court ordered Mr. Fields to
file a Proposed Supplemental Complaint that clearly and
concisely laid out the facts supporting any additional claims
based on events that transpired since he filed this lawsuit.
(Id.) The Court included the following additional
Mr. Fields's proposed supplemental pleading must contain
a caption identifying himself as the plaintiff and naming
each defendant against whom he intends to pursue supplemental
claims. The proposed supplemental pleading must be titled
“Proposed Supplemental Complaint, ” and it must
set forth the factual allegations in separate individually
numbered paragraphs. Mr. Fields must file any Proposed
Supplemental Complaint no later than December 14,
2018. If Mr. Fields fails to comply with all these
instructions, the Court will not grant his request.
December 28, 2018, Mr. Fields submitted a document entitled:
“‘Proposed Supplemental Complaint' I wanted
to be able to file per your order dated: 11-16-2018, but I
threaten by defendants/banned from the law library for 90
days....” (ECF No. 101.) This document includes a
12-page letter in which Mr. Fields complains that he has been
prohibited from using the law library at the prison where he
is confined for a period of 90 days based on accusations that
he has been disrespecting and threatening library staff
through the kite system. He asserts that this prohibition was
“made ... up to block and hinder with my ability to
timely respond to your order and to deny me legal research
access/typing.” (Id. at 2.) Mr. Fields also
included a lengthy narrative regarding several other ways in
which he believes that prison staff are retaliating against
him and he references several prison grievances.
(Id. at 2-12.)
Defendants and Dr. Lon Augdahl have both responded to Mr.
Fields's December 28, 2018 “proposed supplemental
complaint.” (ECF Nos. 106, 107.) They argue that the
documents Mr. Fields submitted do not qualify as a proposed
supplemental pleading and stated that they do not intend to
respond without further direction of the Court.
Court is well aware that in prisoner litigation, pro se
plaintiffs occasionally have difficulties meeting deadlines
because of delays in receiving mail. However, beyond his bare
allegations that the DOC Defendants intentionally delayed his
mail, Mr. Fields has not shown that any delay in receiving
this Court's November 16, 2018 Order was the result of
retaliation. More importantly, even aside from the missed
deadline, the Court agrees that Mr. Fields's submission
is not a Proposed Supplemental Complaint. Indeed, he has not
complied with any part of the Court's instructions set
forth in the November 16, 2018 Order. For these reasons, the
Court declines to grant Mr. Fields leave to file a
supplemental complaint. Mr. Fields's motion (ECF
No. 101) is DENIED. The Court also
denies Mr. Fields's request that the Defendants be
required to return his “legal logs” to him. (ECF
No. 101 at 9.) He has not shown that such an order is
necessary for him to prosecute his case or to comply with the
Court's November 16, 2018 instructions on the submission
of any proposed supplemental pleading.
Discovery of Disciplinary Actions/Personnel Files
Fields brought a motion to compel the DOC Defendants to
produce information concerning their “educational
backgrounds, job history and experiences, position and job
description, disciplinary actions taken against all
defendants or complaints, training experience, etc.”
(ECF No. 73.) In an Order dated November 27, 2018, the Court
required the DOC Defendants to file a supplemental response
to Mr. Fields's motion addressing: “(1) the basis
of the DOC-Defendants' objections to Mr. Fields's
request for information concerning the DOC-Defendants'
disciplinary history and complaints made against them; and
(2) a reasoned argument concerning the discoverability of
such information given the claims and defenses in this
proceeding.” (Order (Nov. 27, 2018), ECF No. 79.)
December 10, 2018, consistent with the Court's
instructions, the DOC Defendants filed a memorandum in
opposition to Mr. Fields's motion to compel. (DOC
Defs.' Resp., ECF No. 84.) The DOC Defendants argue that
the personnel files and related information concerning DOC
employees that Mr. Fields has requested “are not
relevant to Plaintiff's claims and would jeopardize the
safety and security of the employees subject to the
request.” (Id. at 6.)
equally important reasons, the Court finds that production of
the requested information is not warranted, and Mr.
Fields's motion to compel the DOC Defendants'
personnel files and disciplinary history information
(ECF No. 73) is DENIED.
There is nothing in the record of this case that demonstrates
how the personnel files for DOC staff will help Mr. Fields
establish his deliberate-indifference claims. Mr. Fields is
unable to explain, and the Court unable to discern, how
information in these files will support his particular
allegations. Moreover, the DOC Defendants represent
that they have produced to Mr. Fields his complete DOC
behavioral health file, medical file, kites, grievances, and
disciplinary records. (DOC Defs.' Resp. at 1, 9-10.)
Therefore, he has access to documentation that is relevant to
his claims that the Defendants have been deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs.
even if Mr. Fields had articulated some way the information
he requested was relevant to his own claims or any defenses
that have been raised, the particular circumstances here make
production of such information to Mr. Fields wholly
inappropriate. Mr. Fields's conduct within the
institution (and during the course of this litigation) raises
grave concerns about the uses to which he would put
information gleaned from the requested personnel documents.
As the DOC Defendants correctly observe, “Plaintiff
alleges that he seeks to perform sexual acts in the presence
of his DOC-assigned therapist as treatment for his mental
health conditions.” (DOC Defs.' Resp. at 9.) The
DOC Defendants have also shown that Mr. Fields has misused
private information concerning DOC staff members on several
occasions in the past, including sending threatening ...