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Clarence Bernard Williamson v. William Twaddell and Richard Young

November 18, 2011

CLARENCE BERNARD WILLIAMSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM TWADDELL AND RICHARD YOUNG, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge:

E-FILED

Friday, 18 November, 2011 04:01:21 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Plaintiff, currently incarcerated in Western Illinois Correctional Center, pursues claims arising from the alleged denial of his right to change and practice his religion. The case is currently in the process of discovery, with discovery set to close on November 30, 2011.

Before the Court are four motions to compel by Plaintiff, addressed in turn below.

I. Motion to Compel Defendant Young's Responses to Interrogatories (d/e 33)*fn1

A. Interrogatory 1: "Identify any and all documents relating to the policies and procedures concerning the WARDEN OF PROGRAMS resolving issues on an institutional level concerning the chaplain's office."*fn2

The Court agrees with Defendants that this request is overly broad and vague. The Court is uncertain what information Plaintiff seeks. Further, the Court finds Defendants' production of the position description for the Assistant Warden and Defendants' cite to 20

Ill.Admin.Code § 425 to be responsive.

B. Interrogatory 2: "Identify any and all documents relating to the correspondence received by the plaintiff religious issues, along with Richard Young's standing on the issues presented to him."

Young responded that he has forwarded any such documents to Defendant Twaddell and no longer has possession of them. The Court finds this answer responsive. Plaintiff appears to suspect that Young is concealing relevant documents, but there is no evidence to support that speculation.

C. Interrogatory 3: "Identify any and all documents that authorized the chaplain to possess offenders visiting list, access to offenders master files for copies, access and authority to deny request for change of religion."

Young responded that the Chaplain's job duties give him the authority to deny a religious change request and the authority to access an inmate's master file, which contains an inmate's visiting list. This answer is responsive.

D. Interrogatory 5: "Identify any and all documents related to any complaint, grievance, criticism, censure, reprimand and rebuke directed toward the defendant William Twaddell concerning his position as chaplain at Western Ill. Corr. Ctr."

Young responded that Twaddell's personnel file does not contain any documentation of complaints by inmates regarding the denial of religious accommodation. To the extent that Plaintiff seeks other information, the Court agrees with Young that this request is overly broad, unduly burdensome, and seeks irrelevant information. Evidence of disciplinary action against Twaddell regarding incidents unrelated to Plaintiff's claim would not be relevant to show that Twaddell violated Plaintiff's religious rights. Nor would such evidence be reasonably calculated to lead to relevant, admissible evidence. Twaddell's general character and competence is not on trial. See Fed. R. Evid. 404(a)("Evidence of a person's character or a trait of character is not admissible for the purpose of proving action in conformity therewith on a particular occasion . . .); Fed. R. Evid. 404(b)("Evidence of other . . . wrongs . . . is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith."). Similarly, to the extent Plaintiff seeks complaints by other inmates against Twaddell, the Court agrees with Judge Baker's order denying this request. Finding these other grievances would require a review of the master files of thousands of inmates, a burden ...


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