Sheriff's office dragging out discovery in jail lawsuit, say plaintiffs

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Attorneys for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) are accusing the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office (OPSO) of failing to respond to requests for documents pertinent to the group's federal prisoners' rights lawsuit against the office and Sheriff Marlin Gusman. SPLC, which is seeking class action status for the suit, has asked federal Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan to compel OPSO to produce the documents.

On June 19, Shushan ordered OPSO to produce the discovery documents on a "rolling basis," meaning as they become available, with all responses to be finished by July 13. But SPLC attorneys claim that OPSO hasn't complied.

"Despite this Court’s Order for rolling discovery production, Defendants have yet to produce a single document to Plaintiffs," writes SPLC's lead attorney, Katie Schwartzmann, in a July 2 motion to compel discovery.

(More after the jump)

Shushan this morning ordered Gusman's attorneys to turn in a response to SPLC's request by July 10.

Meanwhile, here's what the filing has to say about what's been going on with OPP inmates (the "putative class members" in the lawsuit):

"While counsel for the parties argue about discovery disputes, multiple putative class members have been attacked and transported to the hospital in the last week, where at least one remains non-responsive in intensive care, having had his head split open at the jail."

Read SPLC's full motion to compel: MotiontoCompel.pdf

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