Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

RIVERA v. DISABATO

March 6, 1997

PETER JOE RIVERA, Plaintiff,
v.
MARY K. DISABATO, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WOLFSON

 WOLFSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

 Background

 Plaintiff Peter Joe Rivera is presently incarcerated in the Riverfront State Prison in Camden, New Jersey. On April 29, 1996, plaintiff filed this civil rights action against numerous government officials, claiming violations of his constitutional rights. On that same day, the Honorable Anne E. Thompson granted plaintiff's request to proceed in this matter in forma pauperis. The gravamen of plaintiff's claims are that defendants, Mary Keating DiSabato, Chairman of the New Jersey State Parole Board ("Parole Board"), Daniel Labek, a Parole Counselor at the New Jersey State Prison, Gregory Grochowshi, a Senior Parole Counselor, and Gloria Burke, a Senior Classification Officer at the New Jersey State Prison, violated his due process rights by failing to provide him with a timely parole hearing.

 On September 4, 1996, defendants filed a motion for leave to take the deposition of the plaintiff, a prisoner, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(a)(2). By Order dated October 7, 1996, this Court granted defendants' motion. Consequently, on October 29, 1996, defendants' counsel, Jennifer L. Kleppe, Esq., Deputy Attorney General, took the deposition of plaintiff at the Riverfront State Prison. A certified short hand reporter was present to transcribe the proceedings.

 On January 28, 1997, plaintiff filed the present motion, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(4), seeking free transcripts of his deposition. In support of this motion, plaintiff, an indigent litigant, asserts that because the deposition transcripts will likely provide the basis upon which defendants will formulate their defense, the transcripts are therefore discoverable material information. Plaintiff's Moving Brief at 1-2.

 Relying upon a wealth of case law in various United States Circuits, defendants oppose this motion, insisting that there is no statutory or judicial authority requiring either defendants or the government to provide plaintiff with free deposition transcripts. Defendant's Brief at 3-5 (citing Santana v. United States, 98 F.3d 752 (3d Cir. 1996); Martin v. United States, 96 F.3d 853 (7th Cir. 1996) Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147 (3d Cir. 1993); Dixon v. Ylst, 990 F.2d 478 (9th Cir. 1993); Tedder v. Odel, 890 F.2d 210 (9th Cir. 1989); Papas v. Hanlon, 849 F.2d 702 (1st Cir. 1988); Boring v. Kozakiewicz, 833 F.2d 468 (3d Cir. 1987); McNeil v. Lowney, 831 F.2d 1368 (7th Cir. 1987); Johnson v. Hubbard, 698 F.2d 286 (6th Cir. 1983); United States Marshals Service v. Means, 724 F.2d 642 (8th Cir. 1983); Lewis v. Precision Optics, Inc., 612 F.2d 1074 (8th Cir. 1980); Badman v. Stark, 139 F.R.D. 601 (M.D. Pa. 1991); Sturdevant v. Deer, 69 F.R.D. 17 (E.D. Wis. 1975)). Indeed, defendants suggest that the bulk of judicial authority instructs that parties, including indigent litigants, must bear their own trial expenses. Id. Consequently, defendants urge this Court to deny plaintiff's motion for free deposition transcripts.

 Discussion

 In the instant matter, having satisfied the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(a), defendants conducted the deposition of plaintiff on October 29, 1996. A certified short hand reporter was present to transcribe the proceedings. Plaintiff now seeks a gratuitous copy of the deposition transcript, apparently at defendants' expense. However, plaintiff offers no factual, statutory or judicial authority to substantiate his request.

 Indeed, it is well-settled that litigants generally bear their own litigation expenses. Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 159 (3d Cir. 1993); Boring v Kozakiewicz, 833 F.2d 468, 474 (3d Cir. 1987) "There is no provision in the statute [ 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)] *fn3" for the payment by the government of the costs of deposition transcripts, or any other litigation expenses, and no other statute authorizes courts to commit federal monies for payment of the necessary expenses in a civil suit brought by an indigent litigant." Tabron, 6 F.3d at 159; See also Johnson v. Hubbard, 698 F.2d 286, 289 (6th Cir. 1983); Toliver v. Community Action Commission to Help the Economy, Inc., 613 F. Supp. 1070, 1072 (S.D.N.Y. 1985)("there [is] no clear statutory authority for prepayment of discovery costs pursuant to 1915 or otherwise").

 As in the instant case, the indigent prisoner plaintiff in Tabron sought an Order requiring that he be provided with free copies of the depositions taken by the defendants. 6 F.3d at 151-52. In conjunction with his motion, the plaintiff in that case also filed several other motions, including a motion for summary judgment. Id. at 152. However, because plaintiff did not have the benefit of the deposition transcripts for reference in his motion papers, plaintiff cited to the deposition testimony from memory or by referring to pages of the transcripts that he had been permitted to inspect. Id. Despite the apparent suggestion that the information in the deposition transcripts may have been potentially helpful as probative, material information, the Third Circuit Court concluded that 28 U.S.C. § 1915 does not encompass an entitlement to copies of deposition transcripts at Government expense. Id. at 159.

 This position is consistent with the recently enacted Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), effective April 26, 1996, which modifies 28 U.S.C. § 1915. *fn4" Enacted "to relieve the pressures on the federal courts of frivolous suits by prison inmates," the Act fundamentally alters the prior statute by requiring in forma pauperis prisoners to pay all filing fees. Martin v. United States, 96 F.3d 853, 856 (7th Cir. 1996). Clearly, both Congress and the federal courts support the necessity for litigants to bear their own litigation expenses, and have, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.