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Henley v. Hickman County Detention Center

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, at Paducah Division

October 21, 2014



THOMAS B. RUSSELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Jeremy C. Henley, a pro se inmate currently incarcerated at the Fulton County Detention Center, initiated this action by filing a document titled "Civil Rights Pre-Action Complaint by Pro se inmate under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Rules 27(a), 34(a) and 35(a) Federal Rules in Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C." In his "Pre-Action Complaint, " Plaintiff "prays for pre-action discovery to provide dates times, names and the likes" in order to file a § 1983 action. The Court, therefore, construes this "Pre-Action Complaint" as a petition for production of evidence in anticipation of filing a § 1983 action under Rule 27(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny the request for pre-action production.


At the time Plaintiff filed the instant petition, he was incarcerated at the Hickman County Detention Center (HCDC). He names the following officers and entities as Defendants: the HCDC; its jailer, Michael Chad Frizzell; "All unknown named persons, agents and employees" of HCDC; Hickman County; Chief Executive Officer Acting County Judge Greg Pruitt; Hickman County Fiscal Court; and the "Justice and Public Safety Cabinet - D.O.C." in care of several DOC officers and employees.

In the petition, Plaintiff lists sixty-four conditions-of-confinement claims occurring during his incarceration at HCDC. He contends that he "is needing pre-action complaint to accurately frame" those claims and that he "desires to establish by the discoverable evidence and proposed testimony... [to] locate all names descriptions, witnesses, addresses, subject matter, dates, times, accurate facts." He further contends:

in order to state the facts properly and in chronological order, with accurate time frames and properly state the claims against the defendents upon which relief can be granted and with sufficient/normal information and show that defendants acted in bad faith with an objectively reasonable belief that their actions/conduct were not lawful even though done with malice under the color of state and municipal principle, and to show that incidents are not isolated as one timely events, that they are recurring and profitably inurring unto Michael Chad Frizzell himself, unto this petitioner states it is important to preserve discoverable evidence and perpetuate these evidences as the defendants possess before the data is lost, destroyed, [illegible], divided, manipulated or destroyed or the possible witnesses have been removed or disappeared will their testimony is still to be had.

Plaintiff reports that on April 15, 2014, he submitted "an application to inspect public records upon Hickman County Facility... to determine identity, interest, precise facts of individuals and their capacities, contracts and grievances by virtue of discovering which cause of action is based and in order to frame proper pleadings, " but that Jailer Frizzell denied him personal inspection of all of the requested information. Plaintiff further reports that on April 29, 2014, he submitted fifty-seven Open Records Requests to Jailer Frizzell "for various information and facts to maintain factual [illegible] in his § 1983 civil action complaint and to inspect personally grievances and circumstances, " but Jailer Frizzell denied every request.

Seemingly because Jailer Frizzell denied Plaintiff's requests for this information, Plaintiff filed this petition in May 2014 seeking production of evidence to file his § 1983 complaint.


Rule 27(a) provides for the perpetuation of known testimony before bringing an action.

The Rule provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(1) Petition. A person who wants to perpetuate testimony about any matter cognizable in a United States court may file a verified petition in the district court for the district where any expected adverse party resides. The petition must ask for an order authorizing the petitioner to depose the named persons in order to perpetuate their testimony. The petition must be titled in the petitioner's name and must show:
(A) that the petitioner expects to be a party to an action cognizable in a United States court but cannot presently ...

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