United States District Court, District of Columbia
DEBORAH A. ROBINSON United States Magistrate Judge.
Gregory Smith, brought this civil rights action in the
Superior Court of the District of Columbia alleging that the
District of Columbia Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) unlawfully detained him for 23 days after
he was ordered to be released from custody. Amended Complaint
(ECF No. 36) at 1. Defendants subsequently removed the case
to this court. Notice of Removal (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff
dismissed the DOC as a defendant on February 27, 2015,
leaving the District of Columbia (“the
District”), and DOC employees Jack Jones and Jeanette
Myrick as the remaining defendants. This case was referred to
the undersigned for determination of Plaintiff's Motion
for Costs and Fees (ECF No. 39), wherein Plaintiff alleges
various discovery violations by the District and seeks
sanctions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37.
See Plaintiff's Statement of Points and
Authorities in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Costs
and Fees (“Plaintiff's P&A”) (ECF No.
Court (Jackson, J.), entered a scheduling order on March 10,
2015, establishing the deadlines governing the course of
discovery in this proceeding. See Scheduling Order
(ECF No. 13). During the discovery period, Plaintiff sought,
inter alia, two main types of materials pertaining
to the instant motion: data from the District's
electronic transaction management system (“TMS”),
and “over-detention reports” compiled by the DOC.
Plaintiff's P&A at 1-2.
served Defendants with his first request for production of
documents on March 27, 2015. Plaintiff's P&A at 4. In
that request, Plaintiff sought “all reports prepared by
the District of Columbia relating to overdetention of inmates
at the D.C. Jail between March 1, 2007 and April 10,
2014.” Id. at 5. The District responded to
this request on September 1, 2015, pointing Plaintiff toward
its prior response to Plaintiff's Interrogatory No. 2,
which had provided a table listing the number of
over-detentions by month. Id.; Exhibit 6,
District's Responses to Plaintiff's Request for
Production of Documents and Interrogatories (ECF No. 39-7).
On September 25, 2015, Plaintiff served a second request for
the production of documents, slightly rephrasing his request
for “[a]ll release discrepancy reports from March 2009
through April 2014.” Exhibit 8, Response to
Plaintiff's Second Set of Requests for Production of
Documents (ECF No. 39-9) at 2. Plaintiff followed up on
October 7, 2015, noting that Plaintiff was seeking “all
reports prepared by the District of Columbia relating to the
over-detention of inmates, ” and that “[d]espite
the acknowledgement of the existence of the monthly reports .
. . the monthly reports have not been produced.”
Exhibit 7, Plaintiff Letter to District of Columbia (ECF No.
39-8) at 1. In response, the District directed Plaintiff to a
website for the District of Columbia's Judiciary and
Public Safety on November 22, 2015. Exhibit 8 at 2.
subsequently noticed a deposition pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) outlining, inter alia, the
10. Prisoner overdetention at the DC Jail between March 18,
2009 and April 10, 2014.
a) All sources of information relied upon in answering
Plaintiff's Interrogatory No. 2.
b) The definition of “overdetention” used in
responding to Plaintiff's Interrogatory No. 2.
c) All policies to decrease the instances overdetention of
prisoners between March 18, 2009 and April 10, 2014.
d) All policies to prevent the overdetention of prisoners in
place on March 2014.
e) All reports and/or written statements made by the
Department of Corrections relating to prisoner overdetention
between March 18, 2009 and April 10, 2014.
Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition Notice (ECF No. 39-10) at 4-5. In
addition to noticing those topics, Plaintiff requested that
the deponent designated by the District provide “[a]ll
reports published by the Department of Corrections relating
to prisoner overdetention between March 18, 2009 and April
10, 2014.” The 30(b)(6) deposition was held on November
23, 2015, and the District's designee, Defendant Jeanette
Myrick, appeared and testified as to the over-detention
reports, but did not bring the requested documents with her
to the deposition. Exhibit 11, Jeanette Myrick Deposition I
(Relating to Overdetention Reports) (ECF No. 39-12) at 2-3.
Ms. Myrick testified that she authors over-detention reports
and keeps electronic versions of said reports in a folder on
her computer. Id. at 4.
December 6, 2015, Plaintiff submitted to the District his
third request for documents, specifically identifying the
reports contained on Ms. Myrick's computer.
Plaintiff's P&A at 8. On January 27, 2016, the
District produced said reports. Id.
first learned of the existence of the TMS data during the
December 14, 2015 deposition of Defendant Jack Jones, an
employee of the DOC. Plaintiff's P&A at 3. Mr. Jones
testified that when the Records Office receives documents
such as release orders from the D.C. Superior Court, such
documents are uploaded into the TMS system. Id. The
TMS system also indicates the time at which such documents
are uploaded. Id. Plaintiff made his first request
for the TMS data during the deposition. Id.
Plaintiff followed up his initial request for the TMS data
with an email request to the District on January 4, 2016.
Exhibit 2, Plaintiff Email to District of Columbia (ECF No.
39-3) at 1. In this email, Plaintiff requested
“screenshots of the TMS system indicating when the
release orders (for cases 2014 CMD 452 and 2012 CMD 7806)
were uploaded for [Plaintiff] into the TMS system.”
Id. Alternatively, Plaintiff requested access to
inspect the TMS system with regard to the cases pertaining to
each of Plaintiff's releases. Id.
January 29, 2016, the parties filed a Joint Status Report
with the Court, wherein the District stated that it
“anticipates . . . full compliance with the requested
discovery [of TMS data] in two (2) weeks.” Joint Status
Report (ECF No. 27) at 2. The Joint Status Report also
requested an extension of fact discovery until February 12,
2016. Id. at 2. On the final day of the fact
discovery period, the District sent Plaintiff an email
stating “[w]e have been advised that the TMI [sic]
information you requested does not exist.” Exhibit 1,
District Email to Plaintiff (ECF No. 39-2) at 1. The parties
held a teleconference that same day, after which the Court
(Jackson, J.) extended fact discovery until February 26,
2016. 01/12/2016 Minute Order.
noticed a second deposition pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6) in
relation to the retention and preservation of the TMS data.
Exhibit 5, Deposition Notice Regarding TMS Data (ECF No.
39-6). This notice included, inter alia, the
following topics: “[t]he existence of data and/or
information in the TMS system as it related to [Plaintiff]
(for cases 2014 CMD 452 and 2012 CMD 7806)”;
“[t]he retention policy for data contained in the TMS
system during March and April 2014”; “[t]he
search performed by DOC to obtain data and/or information
from the TMS system as it relates to [Plaintiff] (for cases
2014 CMD 452 and 2012 CMD 7806)”; and “[t]he
existence of backup data from the TMS system.”
Id. at 2. On March 4, 2016, the day of the
deposition, the District provided Plaintiff with TMS data
pertaining to 2014 CMD 452, but not 2012 CMD 7806.
Plaintiff's P&A at 4. Fact discovery subsequently
closed on March 11, 2016.
OF THE PARTIES
argues that the District violated Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 26(a)(1) when it failed to initially disclose the
TMS data, id. at 9, and the over-detention reports,
id. at 15. According to Plaintiff, “the
District's only purported defense in this matter is the
claim that it did not receive the release order relating to
[Plaintiff], ” and therefore “the District was
required to disclose all information relating to the TMS
system under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1).” Id. at 9.
Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that the District went
further than simply failing to disclose the TMS data-it made
a “false representation” regarding its existence.
also argues that the District violated Rule 28(e) when it
failed to supplement its response to Interrogatory No. 2 with
the actual over-detention reports that were eventually
produced in January 2016. See Id. at 14. Plaintiff
notes that Defendant Myrick answered Interrogatory No. 2 with
a table containing the number of over-detentions, which was
“data that directly contradicted the
‘overdetention reports' she authored and [which]
were contained on her computer.” See Id. at
12, 14; District's Responses to Plaintiff's Request
for Production of Documents and Interrogatories, Exhibit 6,
at 5-8. Plaintiff points out that Ms. Myrick was both the
author of the actual reports, and the person who
“signed the interrogatory responses under oath.”
Id. at 14. As such, there is “no good faith
basis for the District's failure to disclose the
overdetention reports contained on Ms. Myrick's computer
for the ten months Plaintiff repeatedly requested the
reports.” Id. Plaintiff argues that these
failures to disclose under Rule 26(a)(1) and failures to
supplement under Rule 28(e) amount to violations of Rule
37(c)(1) and therefore require that sanctions be levied
against the District.
District argues that sanctions under Rule 37(c)(1) are
inappropriate because Plaintiff “has not shown that the
District violated any discovery rule under Rule 26(a) or
26(e).” Defendant District of Columbia's Memorandum
of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Plaintiff's
Motion for Costs and Fees (“Defendant's
Opposition”) (ECF No. 40) at 6. Because the District