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Nordholm v. Barkell

United States District Court, D. Montana, Butte Division

March 19, 2018

WILLIAM NORDHOLM, Plaintiff,
v.
TIM BARKELL, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Jeremiah C. Lynch United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff William Nordholm, a state prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis and without counsel, has filed a Motion for Copies and Request to Extend the Scheduling Order (Doc. 22) and a Motion to Quash Defendants' Subpoena to Montana State Prison (Doc. 23). The motions will be granted.

         I. Motion for Copies

         In his first motion, Nordholm seeks copies from the Court's docket at no cost to him. (Doc. 22.) He contends that due to his prison transfer he has been separated from his set of copies of documents in this case and cannot afford copies of his legal filings.

         Given these circumstances and in order to move this case forward, the Court will grant the motion and direct the Clerk of Court to provide copies to Nordholm of the requested filings. No. additional copies will be allowed without payment as required by the Clerk's Office.

         II. Motion for Extension

         In light of his inability to access his legal documents, Nordholm requests that the deadlines set forth in the scheduling order be extended by 90 days. (Doc. 22.) Defendants do not oppose the extension. (Doc. 24.) The motion will be granted.

         III. Motion to Quash

         According to Nordholm, Defendants subpoenaed Montana State Prison to produce, “[a]ny and all prison intake documentation and reports, as well as treatment, medical, psychological and billing records that are in the possession custody or control related to William Nordholm.” Nordholm states that the production is due on March 26, 2018. (Doc. 23.) He contends the subpoena seeks privileged or other protected matter. He calls the subpoena a “fishing expedition.”

         The Court construes Nordholm's filing as a motion for protective order and as such it will be granted. Pursuant to Federal Civil Procedure Rule 26(c), a court may for “good cause” issue a protective order “to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense . . . ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). “The burden is upon the party seeking the [protective] order to ‘show good cause' by demonstrating harm or prejudice that will result from the discovery.” Rivera v. NIBCO, Inc., 364 F.3d 1057, 1063 (9th Cir. 2004). This burden can be met by showing that the sought after discovery is irrelevant. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C)(iii) (“the court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery . . . if it determines that . . . “the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit”). “The compulsion of production of irrelevant information is an inherently undue burden” for which a protective order may issue. Jimenez v. City of Chicago, 733 F.Supp.2d 1268, 1273 (W. D. Wash. 2010) (citing Compaq Computer Corp. v. Packard Bell Elecs., 163 F.R.D. 329, 335-36 (N.D.Cal.1995)); Monte H. Greenawalt Revocable Trust v. Brown, 2013 WL 6844760, *3 (D.Nev. Dec.19, 2013) (“Discovery requests seeking irrelevant information are inherently undue and burdensome”); Ginena v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., No. 04cv1304, 2011 WL 4749104, *1 (D.Nev. Oct.6, 2011) (“If discovery sought is not relevant, the court should restrict discovery by issuing a protective order.”).

         Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the scope of discovery is as follows:

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.

Fed.R. Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Nordholm raises claims regarding Defendants' policy of charging a booking and bonding fee (Count I), conspiracy to bring false charges (Count II), and retaliation (Counts III, IV). (Amended Complaint, Doc. 9.) The Court fails to see how Nordholm's medical and psychological records from the prison where he was detained after his incarceration in Anaconda-Deer Lodge County has any relevancy to the parties claims and defenses in this matter.

         In light of the short time period prior to the production of the documents at issue, the Court will grant the motion subject to reservice of the subpoena should Defendants make the appropriate showing of relevancy.

         Based upon the foregoing, the Court ...


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