Southern District of New York Grants Motion to Compel Filed by Injured Prison Inmate
In Rembert v. Cheverko et. al., Case No. 12-9196 (S.D.N.Y., Oct. 9, 2015), a civil suit filed by an inmate in the Westchester County Department of Corrections system who alleged that he injured his arm and did not receive proper treatment for it, the Southern District of New York considered Plaintiff’s motion to compel additional electronic records.
Plaintiff sought documents evidencing any email threads between prison staff about Plaintiff. Defendants responded that they had no such emails, but Plaintiff later discovered that the prison medical staff conducted all of their communications about patients via email, and that Defendants had not actually looked for any such emails. Through deposition and other discovery, Plaintiff determined that emails about Plaintiff’s medical condition did exist but that Defendants had not produced them. Plaintiff complained several times to the court regarding the lack of production, and the court ordered that Defendants produce a witness for deposition regarding the email production and retention. Plaintiff argued that the produced witness was unprepared and unhelpful.
The court reviewed the deposition transcripts and determined that there seemed to be “more email use” than what was produced. Plaintiff moved to compel production of a different witness for deposition who could testify regarding these emails, and the court granted the motion. The court also found that Defendants should have notified Plaintiff that the deponent was not the right witness and identified a deponent who could properly testify regarding the emails. The court also compelled production of document retention policies and the investigation records for other inmates who made similar complaints.