United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division
AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING
DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA
GEIGER LEWIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
W.S. (Plaintiff) filed this lawsuit as a 42 U.S.C. §
1983 action. He also asserts state law claims against
Defendants Cassandra Daniels, Ursula Best, and South Carolina
Department of Social Services (SCDSS) (collectively,
Defendants) under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act. The
Court has jurisdiction over the matter under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1331 and 1367. Pending before the Court is
Defendants' motion to quash the January 31, 2017,
subpoena issued to Boys Home of the South (BHOTS), which was
served on February 13, 2017, under Rule 45(d)(3) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Having carefully considered
the motion, the response, the reply, the sur-reply, the
record, and the applicable law, it is the judgment of the
Court Defendants' motion will be denied.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff's Complaint, he alleges he was involved in
various sexual activities with other minors while residing at
BHOTS and in the custody of SCDSS. On February 13, 2017,
Plaintiff served a subpoena-issued on January 31, 2017-on
BHOTS, a former defendant in this action. The subpoena seeks,
in relevant part, documents for all minor children and all
staff at BHOTS which involve abuse or neglect or serious or
critical incidents concerning any child resident or staff at
BHOTS from 2000 until April 19, 2011. See ECF No.
has neglected to object to Plaintiff's subpoena.
According to Plaintiff, BHOTS has gathered the relevant
materials and stands ready to produce them upon order of the
Court. Defendants object to the subpoena, however, and
initially filed a motion to quash on April 26, 2017. ECF No.
42. Because Defendants failed to abide by the Court's
direction in the scheduling order requiring consultation with
opposing counsel and, if necessary, a conference with the
Court, the Court dismissed without prejudice Defendants'
motion. ECF No. 44.
and Defendants subsequently engaged in extensive consultation
and resolved many of the issues underlying Defendants'
objections to the subpoena. For example, the parties agree
the scope of the subpoena shall be limited to the following
individuals specifically identified in Plaintiff's
affidavit: D.H., K.W., J.F., D.A., D.S., B.P., A.V., D.C.,
and B.S. ECF No. 57 at 1. Plaintiff has also agreed not to
pursue further discovery on three of the individuals listed
in his affidavit who are identified as: W.A., W.B., and W.H.
Id. The parties have further agreed to limit the
subpoena from 2003 until April 19, 2011, which is the date
Plaintiff left the custody of BHOTS. Id.
the parties were unable to resolve the entire dispute. The
primary contested issue involves Defendants' desire for
the Court to conduct an in-camera review prior to the
disclosure of the records involving alleged sexual activities
of other children and Plaintiff's opposition to the same.
to the Court's direction, Defendants filed their instant
motion to quash on June 15, 2017. ECF No. 57. Plaintiff filed
his response in opposition on June 20, 2017, Defendants filed
their reply on June 27, 2017, and Plaintiff filed a sur-reply
on June 28, 2017. The Court, having been fully briefed on the
relevant issues, is now prepared to make a determination on
the merits of the motion.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
are given broad discretion to manage discovery and make
discovery rulings. See United States ex rel. Becker v.
Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 305 F.3d 284, 290 (4th
Cir. 2002) (“We afford substantial discretion to a
district court in managing discovery and review discovery
rulings only for abuse of that discretion.” (citing
Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. v. Alpha of Va.,
Inc., 43 F.3d 922, 929 (4th Cir. 1995))). Further, a
district court has discretion to order discovery of any
relevant matters. See Watson v. Lowcountry Red
Cross, 974 F.2d 482, 488-89 (4th Cir. 1992). Under Rule
45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, upon
“timely motion, the court for the district where
compliance [with a subpoena] is required must quash or modify
a subpoena that . . . requires disclosure of privileged or
other protected matter, if no exception or waiver
applies.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3)(A).
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES
Defendants' motion to quash, they maintain the Court
should conduct an in-camera review prior to disclosure of
records involving alleged sexual activities of other
children. Defendants cite S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-1990
(the Children's Code) for this proposition and appear to
allege these documents are protected by a third-party privacy
privilege purportedly established by the Children's Code.
Defendants also aver an in-camera review of these documents
is warranted because, among other things, these other
children are not parties to this action, and the requested
records are extraordinarily sensitive in nature. Defendants
urge the Court to apply the scheme for in-camera review set
forth in N.G. ex rel. Gaymon v. South Carolina Department
of Social Services, No. 0:10-cv-02973-CMC, 2011 WL
1642331 (D.S.C. May 2, 2011), in which the ...