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United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Northern Division
February 18, 2022, Decided; February 18, 2022, Filed
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:18-cv-171-CWR-FKB
Before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion To Compel State Legislators To Comply With Subpoenas Duces Tecum And For A Limited Extension Of The Discovery Deadline . A response  was filed by the non-parties served1 with the subject subpoenas, namely, Mississippi Senators Chris McDaniel, Angela Burks Hill, and Joey Fillingame ("the Senators") and Mississippi House of Representatives Clerk Andrew Ketchings [*4] (on behalf of the Mississippi House Public Health and Human Services Committee) and Mississippi Senate Secretary Buck Clarke and Senate Clerk Amanda Frusha (on behalf of the Mississippi Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee) ("the Committees"). A response  was also filed by Defendants Thomas E. Dobbs, M.D., M.P.H. and Kenneth Cleveland, M.D. ("the State Defendants"). Plaintiffs filed a reply . For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that the motion  should be denied.
The subpoenas served on the Senators and Committees sought production of documents related to abortion legislation. Specifically, the subpoenas demanded: (1) all documents "considered"2 by "You" (as defined in the subpoenas to the Senators) and the Committees (as defined in the subpoenas to the Committees) "related to abortion or women's reproductive health;" (2) all documents "relating to the drafting, revising, or passage of"3 2013 S.B. 2795, 2019 S.B. 2116, and "any other proposed legislation involving abortion" from the 2013 and 2019 Mississippi Legislative Sessions; (3) all documents "reflecting any Communications" between "You" (as defined therein) and the Committees (as defined therein) and six categories of people and [*5] entities listed in the subpoena, "concerning" 2013 S.B. 2795, 2019 S.B. 2116, and "any other proposed legislation involving abortion" from the 2013 and 2019 Mississippi Legislative Sessions;4 and (4) in the subpoenas to the Committees only, "all documents reflecting comments or assessments by [the Committees] related to [their] review of legislation concerning abortion." [222-1] at 11; [222-2] at 11; [222-3] at 11; [222-4] at 11; [222-5] at 11, 20.
The Senators and the Committees object to the subpoenas on the grounds that they are facially overbroad, impose an undue burden, and seek information that is irrelevant and not proportional to the needs of this case. They also contend that Plaintiff's motion is untimely under L.U.Civ.R. 7(b)(2)(C), the requested documents are protected from disclosure by the legislative privilege, and they should not be required to respond to the subpoenas outside the current discovery deadline. Because the Court finds that the subpoenas are facially overbroad, would impose an undue burden, and are not proportional to the needs of this case, it is unnecessary to address the Senators' and the Committees' other objections or contentions.
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2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29447 *; 2022 WL 507665
JACKSON WOMEN'S HEALTH ORGANIZATION, on behalf of itself and its patients; and SACHEEN CARRELLIS, on behalf of herself and her patients, PLAINTIFFS VS. THOMAS E. DOBBS, M.D., M.H.P., in his official capacity as State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al., DEFENDANTS
Prior History: Jackson Women's Health Org. v. Currier, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45080, 2018 WL 1567867 (S.D. Miss., Mar. 20, 2018)
subpoenas, documents, overbroad, employees, facially, abortion