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Tyree v. Ziemer

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

August 21, 2019

JENNIFER TYREE, formerly known as Jane Doe, Plaintiff,
v.
MILO ZIEMER, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          TOM SCHANZLE-HASKINS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Jennifer Tyree's Motion to Compel (d/e 27) (Motion). The Motion seeks to compel discovery from Defendants Keith Beck, Ryan Sexton, Todd Sexton, and Margaret Burke (collectively Responding Defendants). For the reasons stated below, the Motion is ALLOWED in part and DENIED in part.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that she was an inmate at the Logan Correctional Center (Logan) in 2017. She alleges that Defendant Ziemer, an employee at Logan in the Maintenance Department, sexually assaulted her while in prison from March 1, 2017 through July 5, 2017. Defendant Ziemer is currently being prosecuted in Logan County, Illinois, Circuit Court for Custodial Sexual Misconduct allegedly committed on two inmates, including Plaintiff. People v. Ziemer, Logan County, Illinois, Circuit Court No. 17-CF-208 (Criminal Proceeding), Bill of Indictment, attached as Exhibit A to Memorandum in Support of Motion of Defendant, Milo Ziemer, Requesting Reconsideration of the Granting of Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed Under the Pseudonym of “Jane Doe, ” (d/e 19).

         Plaintiff alleges claims for violations of her constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Ziemer and the Responding Defendants, as well as state law claims against Ziemer for intentional torts. Plaintiff alleges that Ryan Sexton and Keith Beck knew that Ziemer was sexually assaulting Plaintiff and did nothing about it. See Complaint, ¶¶ 66-77. Plaintiff must show that each of these two Defendants was personally involved in violating her constitutional rights. See Colbert v. City of Chicago, 851 F.3d 649, 657 (7th Cir. 2017). Plaintiff must show that Ryan Sexton and Keith Beck each knew that Ziemer was sexually assaulting Plaintiff, had a realistic opportunity to prevent the harm from occurring, but did not do so. See e.g., Abdullahi v. City of Madison, 423 F.3d 763, 774 (7th Cir. 2005); Yang v. Hardin, 37 F.3d 282, 285 (7th Cir. 1994).

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants Burke and Todd Sexton violated her First Amendment rights to free speech by retaliating against her for reporting Ziemer's sexual assaults. She alleges that these Defendants retaliated against her by transferring Plaintiff from Logan to Decatur Correctional Center (Decatur). See Complaint, ¶¶ 86-89. To prevail, she must demonstrate that she engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment, she suffered a deprivation that would likely deter protected activity in the future, and the appropriate causal connection between the protected activity and the Defendants' decision to take the retaliatory action. See Thayer v. Chiczewski, 705 F.3d 237, 251-53 (7th Cir. 2012) (discussing necessary proof of causation in First Amendment retaliation).

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Burke, as Warden of Logan, violated Plaintiff's rights by implementing policies and procedures that caused Ziemer's sexual assaults and the retaliation. To prevail under § 1983, Plaintiff must prove: (1) the implemented policies and procedures at Logan created a substantial risk that Ziemer's sexual assaults and the subsequent retaliation would occur; (2) Burke personally knew that such policies and procedures at Logan created a substantial risk that Ziemer's sexual assaults and the subsequent retaliation would occur; and (3) Burke acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind, “[I]t is enough to show that the defendants knew of a substantial risk of harm to the inmate and disregarded the risk.” Roe v. Elyea, 631 F.3d 843, 857 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Greeno v. Daley, 414 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2005)). See Complaint (d/e 1) ¶¶ 53-65.

         On May 1, 2019, the Responding Defendants collectively responded to Plaintiff's Request for Production of Documents, and each Responding Defendant responded to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories directed to each Responding Defendant. Plaintiff found the responses inadequate. The parties have attempted to resolve the disagreement but have not done so. Plaintiff, therefore, brings this Motion to ask the Court to resolve the remaining issues.

         ANALYSIS

         The remaining dispute concerns Plaintiff's Request for Production of Documents (Document Request) Nos. 6, 13-19, and 23 and Interrogatories 5 and 6. The Motion mentions Responding Defendants' answers to Interrogatory No. 12 but does not ask the Court to compel additions to these answers.

         Document Request 6

         Document Request 6 asked for the following:

6. For every civil and/or criminal lawsuit against you, produce all judgment orders, transcripts of all depositions, testimony, and other sworn statements made by you and any IDOC officer and/or employee for each case.

Motion, Exhibit 2, Response to Document Request 6. Plaintiff withdrew the request for statements by other Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) officers or employees, but still seeks all the requested information related to statements by each Responding Defendant. Motion, at 5. Responding Defendants object because the request is overly broad and not proportional to the needs of the case. The Court agrees. The request would require Responding Defendants to turn over documents from unrelated personal matters, such as divorce proceedings or personal injury cases unrelated to their work. The request further has no time limits.

         Still, a Responding Defendant's statements made in cases brought by inmates alleging § 1983 violations by such Responding Defendant arising from Logan employee-on-inmate sexual harassment, sexual assault, or retaliation for reporting such sexual harassment or sexual assault that allegedly occurred during relevant time periods (Relevant Cases) could be relevant or lead to relevant information and be proportional to the needs of the case. Such statements could lead to evidence relevant to issues of personal knowledge and intent.

         The time period of the Relevant Cases is limited to cases in which the alleged sexual assault, sexual harassment, or subsequent retaliation occurred between January 1, 2915 and December 31, 2018. Plaintiff alleges the assaults on her occurred in 2017. The four-year period from the beginning of 2015 to the end of 2018 is reasonable under the circumstances to discover information relevant for discovery purposes without imposing an undue burden on the Responding Defendants.

         The judgments and trial transcripts in the Relevant Cases, however, are matters of public record. Plaintiff only needs the necessary case identifying information of the Relevant Cases to secure that information. The Court orders the Responding Defendants to provide Plaintiff with the title, court, and case number of the Relevant Cases. The Court finds it unduly burdensome and not proportional to the ...


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