Allen v. Woodford

Decision Date20 February 2008
Docket NumberNo. 1:05-CV-01104 OWW GSA.,1:05-CV-01104 OWW GSA.
Citation543 F.Supp.2d 1138
PartiesBrenda ALLEN, Plaintiff, v. Jeanne WOODFORD, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of California

Daniel A. Feldstein, John D. Pernick, Elizabeth Kennedy, Lee Ellen Potter, Bingham McCutchen LLP, San Francisco, CA, for Plaintiff.

John Michael Feser, Jr., Attorney General's Office, Jennifer Marquez, Longyear O'Dea and Lavra, Sacramento, CA, Suzanne Danielle Mcguire, Sherrie Marie Flynn, Baker, Manock & Jensen, Daniel Lawrence Wainwright, Mccormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth LLP, Fresno, CA, for Defendants.


GARY S. AUSTIN, United States Magistrate Judge.


On December 13, 2007, Plaintiff Brenda Allen filed the instant motion to compel the production of documents, which were requested pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45, through subpoenas issued on May 24, 2007, and June 7, 2007. The subpoenas were directed to the following non-parties: (1) the Custodian of Records of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") Office of Legal Affairs; (2) the Custodian of Records at the CDCR Office of Contract Services; (3) Tracy Crosson, Contract Analyst, Central California Women's Facility ("CCWF"); (4) Corey Pierini, Correction Health Service Administrator, Valley State Prison for Women ("VSPW"); (5) Tom Watkins, HCCP Analyst, CCWF; (6) Kathy Kane, Appeals Analyst, CCWF; (7) Beatrice Ratemo, Utilization Management Nurse at CCWF; (8) Steven Brewer, Correctional Health Service Administrator, CCWF; and (9) Gina Gill, Contracts Department, CCWF (collectively referred to as "Non-Parties").1 Plaintiff filed a motion, a supporting memorandum and a declaration and the Non-Parties filed an opposition. In response to an order of the court, the parties also filed a joint statement regarding the discovery disagreement between Plaintiff and Non-Parties. The hearing on the motion was vacated and the matter taken under submission.


Plaintiff initially filed suit on August 25, 2005, alleging a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, professional negligence, gross negligence, civil battery, negligent and intentional misrepresentation, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint on November 9, 2005, and a second amended complaint on July 17, 2006. Thereafter, on February 5, 2007, Plaintiff filed a third amended complaint for violation of section 1983, professional negligence, civil battery, intentional misrepresentation and intentional infliction of emotional distress against defendants Jeanne Woodford, Richard Rimmer, Rosanne Campbell, Gwendolyn Mitchell, Sampath Suryadevara, M.D., and Juan Jose Tur, M.D., in their individual capacities ("CDCR/CCWF Defendants"). The positions held by the CDCR/CCWF Defendants, in their official capacities, are as follows: Jeanne Woodford is the Director of the California Department of Corrections; Richard Rimmer is the Acting Director of the California Department of Corrections; Rosanne Campbell is the Deputy Director of Health Care Services of the California Department of Corrections; Gwendolyn Mitchell is the Warden of the Central California Women's Facility; Sampath Suryadevara, M.D., is the Chief Medical Officer of CCWF; Juan Jose Tur, M.D., is a physician employed by CCWF and/or the California Department of Corrections and/or the State of California.

In her third amended complaint, Plaintiff Brenda Allen, an inmate at CCWF, claims that the CDCR/CCWF Defendants violated her civil rights by permitting Co-Defendants, Muhammad Anwar, M.D., and Madera Community Hospital, to perform improper, medically unnecessary and invasive surgery without her authorization. Plaintiff alleges that the improper surgical treatment left her with greater pain, disfigurement and disability than her untreated medical condition.

On August 16, 2006, Plaintiff served Requests for Production of Documents on the CDCR/CCWF Defendants. The requests sought documents regarding, among other items, contracts at Madera Community Hospital, complaints about Dr. Anwar's medical treatment, Dr. Anwar's medical billings, Dr. Anwar's self-referrals, complaints against Dr. Anwar regarding Plaintiff and other inmates, any State investigation of Dr. Anwar, investigations of Dr. Anwar's billing practices and documents concerning discontinuing Dr. Anwar's services. CDCR/CCWF Defendants responded and objected to the requests on October 13, 2006. The CDCR/CCWF Defendants raised several objections, including sovereign immunity, lack of possession, custody and control, the official information privilege and the deliberative process privilege.

Subsequently, on December 22, 2006, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Further Production of Documents by the CDCR/CCWF Defendants. On January 30, 2007 then-Magistrate Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill issued an order compelling further production of documents by the CDCR/CCWF Defendants. With regard to the CDCR/CCWF Defendants' objection based on lack of possession, custody and control, Judge O'Neill declined to adopt the CDCR/CCWF Defendants' position that the Eleventh Amendment precludes the production of State documents. Judge O'Neill expressly directed the CDCR/CCWF Defendants to file a declaration by the supervisor(s) of the named individual CDCR/CCWF Defendants explaining the issue of access to documents, including who has access and who does not. (Order on Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Documents from the Individual Defendants, Document 135.)

On February 9, 2007, the CDCR/CCWF Defendants filed a request for reconsideration of the Magistrate Judge's ruling on Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Further Responses to Requests for Production of Documents. (Document 142.) On March 20, 2007, District Judge Oliver W. Wanger denied the CDCR/CCWF Defendants' motion for reconsideration with one exception. Judge Wanger modified the Magistrate Judge's order to require CDCR/ CCWF Defendants Jeanne Woodford, Richard Rimmer, Rosanne Campbell and Gwendolyn Mitchell to provide statements under oath regarding their knowledge as to the existence of any documents responsive to Plaintiffs requests, the location of such documents and the custodian of such documents. On reconsideration, Judge Wanger determined that because the CDCR/CCWF Defendants were sued as individuals, "there is no Eleventh Amendment issue." (Order Re: Defendants Jeanne Woodford, Richard Rimmer, Rosanne Campbell, Gwendolyn Mitchell, Samptah Suryadevara, M.D. and Juan Jose Tur, M.D.'s Request for Reconsideration of Magistrate judge's Order on Plaintiffs Motion to Compel Further Responses to Production of Documents, at p. 9; Document 161.)

On April 6, 2007, the CDCR/CCWF Defendants filed declarations regarding the location or names of the custodians of documents responsive to Plaintiffs request. CDCR/CCWF Defendants Jeanne Woodford, Gwendolyn Mitchell and Juan Jose Tur denied knowledge of responsive documents or denied knowledge of the name or location of the custodian of documents responsive to Plaintiffs requests for production of documents. CDCR/CCWF Defendants Rosanne Campbell and Richard Rimmer identified the CDCR Office of Contract Services as having responsive documents. CDCR/CCWF Defendant Sampath Suryadevara identified the CDCR Office of Contract Services, Kathy Kane — Appeals Analyst at CCWF, Tom Watkins — HCCP Analyst CCWF, Beatrice Ratemo — Utilization Management Nurse at CCWF, the CDCR Office of Legal Affairs, Corey Pierini — Correctional Health Service Administrator at Valley State Prison for Women, Steven Brewer — Correctional Health Service Administrator at CCWF and Tracy Crosson — Contract Analyst at CCWF — as having responsive documents.

After the CDCR/CCWF Defendants filed their declarations, in May and June 2007, Plaintiff served subpoenas on the following non-parties: Custodians of Records at the CDCR Offices of Legal Affairs and Contract Services, Tracy Crosson, Corey Pierini, Tom Watkins, Kathy Kane, Beatrice Ratemo, Carolyn Galvin, Steven Brewer and Gina Gill. Declaration of Elizabeth Kennedy in Support of Plaintiff Brenda Allen's Motion to Compel Production of Documents ("Kennedy Declaration."), at ¶ 2 and Exhibit A to Kennedy Declaration. By the subpoenas, Plaintiff seeks documents to determine whether additional inmates allegedly were subjected to invasive and unnecessary procedures by Defendant Anwar, whether these inmates allegedly complained to prison officials and the degree to which the CDC Defendants allegedly ignored these complaints. Plaintiff claims that despite her efforts, the Non-Parties have refused to produce responsive documents. The Non-Parties contend that Eleventh Amendment immunity and state sovereign immunity bar enforcement of the subpoenas issued to state employees and custodians of record.

A. Eleventh Amendment Immunity

The Non-Parties contend that the Eleventh Amendment bars compliance with the subpoenas because the documents at issue are property of the State. The Eleventh Amendment provides:

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Eleventh Amendment immunity refers to assertions of liability on the State's part to prevent federal-court judgments that must be paid out of the State's treasury. Hess v. Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp., 513 U.S. 30, 48, 115 S.Ct. 394, 404, 130 L.Ed.2d 245 (1994) (recognizing that the vulnerability of the State's purse is the most salient factor in Eleventh Amendment determinations); Laxalt v. McClatchy, 109 F.R.D. 632 (D.Nev.1986) (Eleventh Amendment "construed to refer to assertions of liability on the State's part and claims for relief against it"). Eleventh Amendment immunity depends on the...

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5 cases
  • Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Fla. v. U.S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Florida
    • 11 d3 Agosto d3 2010 the custody of a third-party custodian are not imbued with the protections of tribal sovereign immunity. See Allen v. Woodford, 543 F.Supp.2d 1138, 1144 (E.D.Cal.2008) (indicating that principles of tribal sovereign immunity cannot be invoked to quash subpoenas directed at third-party re......
  • Alltel Commc'ns LLC v. Dejordy
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Dakota
    • 17 d4 Fevereiro d4 2011
    ...liability on the State's part to prevent federal-court judgments that must be paid out of the State's treasury." Allen v. Woodford, 543 F. Supp. 2d 1138, 1142 (E.D. Cal. 2008) (referencing Hess v. Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp., 513 U.S. 30, 48 (1994)). "The Non-Parties' reliance on vari......
  • Kee v. Raemisch
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • 28 d1 Outubro d1 2019 material evidence from a 3rd party." Id. Indeed, the only case he cites shows it can be done. See id. (citing Allen v. Woodford, 543 F. Supp. 2d 1138 (E.D. Cal. 2008)). Having thoroughly reviewed the record, we find neither an abuse of discretion nor prejudice.7IV. Order Granting Sum......
  • Morrison v. Unknown Defendant 1
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Nevada
    • 6 d5 Agosto d5 2021
    ... ... Rule 45 provides the only way to get ... information from companies, people, or entities that are not ... named in a lawsuit. Allen v. Woodford, 543 F.Supp.2d ... 1138, 1145 (E.D. Cal. 2008) (granting the plaintiff's ... motion to compel discovery and ordering the ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Part 1: complete case summaries in alphabetical order.
    • United States
    • Detention and Corrections Caselaw Quarterly No. 48, September 2009
    • 1 d2 Setembro d2 2009
    ...Care IMMUNITY: Sovereign Immunity MEDICAL CARE: Involuntary Treatment, Negligence, Records-Access, Right to Refuse Allen v. Woodford, 543 F.Supp.2d 1138 (E.D. Cal. 2008). A state prisoner brought a civil rights action under [section] 1983 against various state and prison officials, a physic......

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