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BOP Ordered to Pay Prisoner’s Attorneys $41,703 for Discovery Abuses

BOP Ordered to Pay Prisoner’s Attorneys $41,703 for Discovery Abuses

by Derek Gilna

Federal prisoner Randall Todd Royer, also known as Ismail Royer, has engaged in a long legal battle with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) related to his conditions of confinement, stemming from the BOP classifying him as a “terrorist.” Royer, a U.S. citizen born in Missouri, won an important legal victory in February 2014 when U.S. Senior District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the BOP to pay $41,703 after finding the agency’s attorneys had committed discovery violations during the lengthy litigation. The case subsequently settled.

Discovery in federal court is conducted according to rules of procedure that require the parties to disclose information and evidence in a timely manner. In this case the judge held that BOP attorneys had missed deadlines, failed to provide information as it became available on a “rolling” basis, and submitted a discovery response without a proper signature verifying its accuracy and completeness. The district court termed this “egregious misconduct,” and said it “totally and categorically rejects the practice of the government in this case.”

Royer is serving a 20-year sentence at FCI Greenville in Illinois for helping individuals gain admission to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan. Following his conviction he was confined in the general prison population for over three years, then the BOP abruptly reclassified him as a “terrorist inmate” and restricted his contact with family and friends – a move Royer said violated the BOP’s own rules. He filed suit in federal district court to overturn that designation after exhausting his administrative remedies.

The BOP unsuccessfully tried to have the lawsuit dismissed prior to being cited for discovery violations; Royer accused the agency of improperly accumulating, maintaining and disclosing records, violating privacy laws, breaching First Amendment guarantees and inflicting severe emotional distress. His suit also sought reclassification of his status as a “terrorist inmate” and a permanent injunction preventing the BOP from hindering contact with his family and friends, or infringing on his free speech rights.

The case settled in June 2014, with prison officials issuing a Certification of Records Modification directing BOP staff to correct the “records of inmate Royer regarding his affiliation with a Bosnian terrorist organization.” The BOP agreed to pay $12,000 in damages plus $28,000 in fees to Royer’s attorneys, but did not admit liability or fault. See: Royer v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S.D.C. (D. DC), Case No. 1:10-cv-01196-RCL.

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Related legal case

Royer v. Federal Bureau of Prisons