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Robledo v. Taylor

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 21, 2016

Paul Anthony Robledo, Plaintiff,
Nicole Taylor, et al., Defendants.


          James A. Teilborg Senior United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Paul Anthony Robledo, who is currently confined in Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis (“ASPC-Lewis”), brought this civil rights case against Defendant Nicole Taylor pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docs. 16, 109). Pending before the Court is a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) from the Magistrate Judge, (Doc. 193), recommending the Court do the following: (1) strike the Reply in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. 152); (2) strike Defendant's Objection to Plaintiff's Statement of Facts and Supplemental Statement of Facts, (Doc. 153); (3) strike Defendant's Sealed Exhibits to the Supplemental Statement of Facts, (Doc. 157); (4) deny, as moot, Plaintiff's Motion for an Extension of Time and for Miscellaneous Relief, (Doc. 168); and (5) deny, as moot, Plaintiff's Supplement to his Motion for an Extension, (Doc. 187).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is suing Defendant, who was a psychologist at ASPC-Lewis, for allegedly denying him constitutionally adequate medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 16 at 3, 8).

         In response to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant to Produce his Medical and Mental Health Records, (Doc. 58), the Magistrate Judge granted Plaintiff's Motion pursuant to Arizona Department of Corrections Department Order 1104. (Doc. 61 at 2). Department Order 1104 sets forth a specific procedure in response to an inmate's request to review his mental health records.[1] Ariz. Dep't of Corr. Dep't Order 1104.02. First, a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist determines whether an inmate's review of his mental health records would be “detrimental to the inmate's condition or treatment.” Id. at 1104.02(1.2.4). Next, where “there is no contraindication to the inmate reviewing” particular sections of the records, the inmate may review those sections in the presence of the reviewing psychiatrist or licensed psychologist. Id. at 1104.02(1.2.5). However, for sections of the records for which review is contraindicated, the psychiatrist or licensed psychologist is to “verbally advise” the inmate that access to the records is denied. Id. at 1104.02(1.2.6).

         Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and accompanying Statement of Facts, which, because Plaintiff had not yet complied with Department Order 1104, contained excerpts of Plaintiff's mental health records that had not been produced to him. (Docs. 89, 90, 105, 107). Six weeks after filing her Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendant filed a motion to seal the “documents attached as exhibits and submitted in support of [Defendant's] Statement of Facts in [S]upport of [Defendant's] Motion for Summary Judgment.” (Doc. 107). Given Defendant's delay and the fact that Plaintiff had already reviewed the filed portions of Plaintiff's mental health records, the Magistrate Judge ordered Defendant to “produce to Plaintiff a full copy of Plaintiff's mental health records” in her possession, instructing that “a mental health provider need not be present during Plaintiff's review of such records.” (Doc. 120 at 3-4).

         Plaintiff later filed a “Motion for Interrogatories, ” with five questions regarding terms or phrases from Plaintiff's mental health records that Plaintiff found unclear.[2](Doc. 125). Plaintiff asked that the interrogatories be “answered by the [Facility Health Administrator (“FHA”)] at ASPC-Lewis or any other qualified individual.” (Id. at 2). The Magistrate Judge ordered that “Defendant shall respond to [Plaintiff's] Motion.” (Doc. 127). In her Response, Defendant stated that “Defendant Taylor will timely respond to Plaintiff's Interrogatories.” (Doc. 129) (emphasis added). In a following Order, however, the Magistrate Judge, noted that “Defendant has responded that Defendant will timely answer the interrogatories” and, therefore, ordered that “Defendant timely answer Plaintiff's [I]nterrogatories.” (Doc. 130) (emphasis added). In responding to Plaintiff's Interrogatories, Defendant drafted the following objection for each question:

OBJECTION. Plaintiff specifically notes he “submits [his Interrogatory] to Defendant Taylor to by [sic] answered by the FHA at ASPC-Lewis [where he is presently incarcerated] or any other qualified individual” . . . . Plaintiff's Interrogatory therefore requests a response from an individual other than a party to this lawsuit, i.e., Defendant Taylor. Plaintiff fails to cite to any authority that requires a party to respond to a discovery request that is not directed to any party in a lawsuit. Rule 33 allows a party to serve on any other party a request for written interrogatories. Plaintiff's discovery request is not directed to any party as required under Rule 33. As such, no response from Defendant Taylor is warranted. To the extent Plaintiff seeks a Response from the FHA or any other qualified individual, he may utilize the Health Needs Request forms, which are available to him at ASPC-Lewis.

(See Doc. 144 at 5-8). In response to Defendant's objections, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel, asking the Magistrate Judge to order Defendant to respond to his Interrogatories. (Id. at 1-4). The Magistrate Judge, construing Plaintiff's Motion as a request for sanctions, found “that Defendant and her counsel provided evasive and incomplete responses to Plaintiff's Interrogatories” and ordered that Defendant “timely and completely answer” Plaintiff's Interrogatories and show cause as to why the Court should not sanction Defendant under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Federal Rule”) 37. (Doc. 150 at 6-7).


         A. Legal Standard

         The Court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). It is “clear that the district judge must review the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations de novo if objection is made, but not otherwise.” United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc); accord Schmidt v. Johnstone, 263 F.Supp.2d 1219, 1226 (D. Ariz. 2003) (“Following Reyna-Tapia, this Court concludes that de novo review of factual and legal issues is required if objections are made, ‘but not otherwise.'”); Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Ctr. v. U.S. Bureau of Land Mgmt., 589 F.3d 1027, 1032 (9th Cir. 2009) (holding that the district court “must review de novo the portions of the [Magistrate Judge's] recommendations to which the parties object”). District courts are not required to conduct “any review at all . . . of any issue that is not the subject of an objection.” Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985) (emphasis added); see also 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1) (“A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the [R&R] to which objection is made.”).

         B. Analysis

         Both Plaintiff and Defendant object to the Magistrate Judge's R&R. Defendant argues that sanctions are not appropriate and, alternatively, that the sanctions recommended are inappropriate in relation to Defendant's conduct. (Doc. 200). Plaintiff argues that “the only suitable ...

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