United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
KELLI DENISE GOODE, Individually, and also as the Personal Representative of Troy Charlton Goode, Deceased, and as Mother, Natural Guardian, and Next Friend of R.G., a Minor, and also on behalf of all similarly situated persons PLAINTIFF
THE CITY OF SOUTHAVEN, et al. DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AND SETTING ASIDE PRIOR
MICHAEL P. MILLS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause comes before the Court on defendants' Joint
Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Other
Sanctions (Renewed). Doc. #587.
Relevant Background and Procedural History
January 13, 2016, Kelli Denise Goode-individually, and in her
capacity as the personal representative of her deceased
husband, as next friend of her minor son, and on behalf of
“all similarly situated persons”-filed a
complaint in the United States District Court for the Western
District of Tennessee “seek[ing] damages and injunctive
relief based upon the untimely death of [her husband] Troy
Charlton Goode ….” Doc. #1 at 1-2.
August 15, 2016, Kelli,  in the same capacities as named in her
original complaint, filed an amended complaint, naming as
defendants the City of Southaven, Todd Baggett, Jeremy Bond,
Tyler Price, Joel Rich, Jason Scallorn, Stacie J. Graham,
Mike Mueller, William Painter, Jr., Bruce K. Sebring, Joseph
Spence, Richard A. Weatherford; John Does 1-10; Baptist
Memorial Hospital-Desoto (“BMH-D”); Southeastern
Emergency Physicians, Inc.; and Lemuel D. Oliver, M.D. Doc.
#107. In her amended complaint, Kelli asserts numerous state
and federal claims against the defendants regarding
Troy's death on July 18, 2015. Id. at 35-62. On
that day, Troy and Kelli drove to Southaven from Memphis,
Tennessee to attend a Widespread Panic concert, but before
the concert started “Troy came under the influence and
commenced to exhibit fear and paranoia.” Id.
at 13. Troy encountered Southaven police after leaving the
concert venue to drive back to Memphis with Kelli and was
detained and brought to BMH-D, where he died. Id. at
Kelli's Creation of Timelines
filing suit, Kelli prepared two timelines of the events of
July 18, 2015 that she emailed to her attorneys Kevin
McCormack, Tim Edwards, and paralegal Diane Asbridge on
August 11, 2015. Doc. #587-2; Doc. #587-4. According to both
timelines, on July 18, 2015, “Troy smoked [marijuana]
at home (a joint); from a batch he had previously smoked
from; no issues.” Doc. #587-2; Doc. #587-4. The
documents also state that Troy was “a daily
smoker” of marijuana, which he “purchase[d] from
the same person.” Doc. #587-2; Doc. #587-4. Regarding
the LSD consumed by Troy, the timelines state that
“Mike Friedman had same vile [sic] over a year”
and that “Troy used LSD on paper previously while in
Chicago from same vile [sic].” Id. Kelli's
second timeline also describes Troy escaping from an
automobile and being chased by his friend Andrew Kratzke on
foot and Kelli by car from the concert venue to Goodman Road.
Doc. #587-4 at 3.
timelines were provided to the defendants during discovery.
See Doc. #587-15 at 2.
Kelli's Response to Interrogatories and Requests for
propounded his first set of interrogatories and requests for
production on August 25. 2016. Doc. #133. Oliver asked Kelli
to identify any healthcare provider who had treated Troy in
the past ten years (“interrogatory two”) and the
name and source of any illegal drugs Troy had taken in the
last ten years (“interrogatory six”). Doc. #587-5
at 2, 4-5. Oliver also requested documents or records-whether
medical, criminal, legal, or otherwise-of any prior reaction
by Troy to LSD (“request for production
thirty-two”), along with contact information for those
that had provided Troy illegal drugs (“request for
production thirty-three”). Doc. #587-6 at 11.
September 27, 2016,  Kelli served her answers and responses to
Oliver's discovery requests. Doc. #587-5 at 7; 587-6 at
16. In her answer to interrogatory two,  Kelli provided
the names and addresses of a physician, dentist,
pediatrician, pharmacy, and pharmacy clinic. Doc. #587-5 at
2. Kelli's answer did not disclose that Troy was
transported by EMS and then hospitalized in 2008 and again in
answer to interrogatory six,  Kelli answered that Troy
“was an infrequent user of LSD and marijuana. He sought
no treatment nor was treatment necessary. The source or
sources of supply are unknown.” Doc. #587-5 at 5.
response to requests for production thirty-two and
thirty-three, Kelli did not produce the timeline or
medical records, responding that she was “in possession
of no responsive documents and believes that none
exists.” Doc. #587-6 at 11.
was deposed on November 15, 2016. Doc. #587-8 at 1, 257.
Kelli testified that, besides the 2015 BMH-D and the 2008
admissions, Troy was not hospitalized at any
time. Kelli did not disclose the 2013
hospitalization. See Doc. #587-15 at 2.
represented that she did not know whether Troy ingested LSD
in 2015 apart from July 18 in Southaven, testifying that to
her knowledge it had been “years” since Troy
consumed LSD in “liquid” form. Doc. #587-8 at
203, 205. Regarding occasions when Troy had consumed LSD,
Kelli testified: “It was long ago. We were young. It
could have been at Bonnaroo [before married to Troy].”
Id. at 204. Kelli testified that she could not
remember whether Troy had ingested LSD during their visit to
Chicago for a concert on July 4th weekend of 2015.
Id. at 217.
initially testified that she did not know either where Troy
received the LSD he ingested on the day he died or whether
other members of their group used illegal drugs that day.
Id. at 20-21. When confronted with a
letter written by her expert Cyril Wecht, which
stated that Kelli witnessed Troy's group taking LSD in a
circle, Kelli responded that she
did not see the actual taking of it because … I was
putting our trash back into a car. When I looked up, I saw
the circle. I did not see them take LSD. Troy told me after
that he did take the LSD. So that would be me putting two and
Id. at 134-35.
initially denied that Troy smoked marijuana at their home the
day he died, testifying that Troy smoked at a friend's
house. Doc. #587-8 at 21. When confronted with Wecht's
letter, which stated that Troy had smoked marijuana at their
home the day he died, Kelli responded: “It's
likely, but I don't remember.” Id. at 131.
As to the remainder of Troy's marijuana batch, Kelli
testified that: (1) she “believe[d]” Troy stored
marijuana in a storage shed outside of their house; (2) she
did not search for his marijuana after his death; (3) the
marijuana was “not there anymore”; (4) someone
besides Kelli had removed the marijuana; and (5) Kelli did
not know that there was marijuana, or any other drugs, stored
in the shed. Id. at 215-16, 220-22.
initially testified that she drove Troy from the venue
without incident until he exited the vehicle while it was
stopped near the grassy area where Troy was apprehended.
Id. at 13-15. When confronted with Wecht's
letter-which described Troy as escaping and being chased by
Andrew Kratzke (on foot) and Kelli (by car) to the grassy
area where he was detained-Kelli testified that Troy merely
exited the vehicle twice on the grassy area itself and was
then followed by Kelli and Andrew. Id. at 15-18.
However, Kelli maintained that Troy did not attempt to exit
her vehicle until it had come to a stop on Goodman Road where
Troy was detained. Id. at 143.
an extensive period of discovery, BMH-D filed a joint motion
on behalf of all defendants to dismiss or, in the
alternative, for other sanctions, based on Kelli's
inconsistent accounts of relevant facts during discovery.
Doc. #587. On September 11, 2018, Judge Brown denied the
joint motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for sanctions
without prejudice and ordered the parties to file a renewed
motion addressing whether the Court's inherent authority
and/or the authority of Rule 37 should be applied to the
issues raised, and then analyzing such issues accordingly.
Doc. #586 at 7. A week later, the defendants filed a renewed
motion which complied with the Court's September 11,
2018, order. Doc. #587.
September 27, 2018, Judge Brown entered an order finding that
Kelli engaged in bad faith conduct during this litigation,
but also that “Kelli's conduct does not rise to the
level warranting the sanction of dismissal of her claims or
the imposition of any of the specific alternative sanctions
requested by the defendants in their renewed motion for
sanctions.” Doc. #591 at 3. Instead of the sanctions
proposed by the defendants, Judge Brown determined that the
appropriate sanction to impose “is to deem certain
facts admitted against Kelli, with such facts to be
specifically determined following specific briefing on the
issue, which briefing may include any additional alternative
sanction not yet rejected by the Court.” Id.
the renewed motion for sanctions was denied in part and
deferred in part, and the defendants were given seven days to
file a supplement to the renewed motion-with any response
from Kelli due seven days later. Id. at 4. On
October 4, 2018, defendants filed the supplement to the
renewed motion, Doc. #598, along with a memorandum in
support, Doc. #599. A week later, Kelli filed her response in
opposition, Doc. #600, along with a memorandum in support,
Brown recused herself from this case on December 20, 2018 and
it is now before this Court.
defendants argue that Kelli
[i]n a calculated attempt to further her own interests and
conceal the truth … engaged in a concerted effort to
mislead and withhold material, relevant information. …
In so doing, she has subverted the judicial process,
prejudiced the … defense of ...