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Whitehead v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 9, 2019

Cassius Clayton Whitehead, Plaintiff,
v.
Charles L. Ryan, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Honorable Raner C. Collins, Senior United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Cassius C. Whitehead's Motion to Compel Discovery of ADC/Corizon Medical Records and Production of Documents. (Doc. 103.) Defendants Corizon Health Inc., Richard Pratt, and Charles L. Ryan (collectively “Medical Defendants”) filed a Response (Doc. 109), and Plaintiff a Reply (Doc. 112). The Court will grant the motion in part and deny in part.

         I. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel

         Plaintiff wishes to obtain his medical records to develop his § 1983 claim and respond to the pending Motion for Summary Judgment (“MSJ”). (Doc. 103 at 2-3.) Plaintiff asks the Court to issue an order (1) requiring that Medical Defendants provide all medical records from November 2016 to present, (2) directing Medical Defendants to file a notice informing the Court when the documents have been distributed, (3) stay the time to respond to the MSJ until after the resolution of the discovery matter, and (4) determine that Plaintiff does not need to pay for the copies because of the money he has already spent copying documents for this motion. (Id. at 5.) However, in his Reply, Plaintiff modifies the documents he seeks, and states that if Medical Defendants simply provide “a complete copy of the exhibits appended to Defendants' Separate Statement of Facts this matter can proceed.” (Doc. 112 at 1.)

         II. Medical Defendants' Response

         a. Timeliness of Motion to Compel

         In response, Medical Defendants assert that Plaintiff's Motion to Compel is untimely because that it was filed after the MSJ (May 2, 2019) and the close of discovery (February 4, 2019). (MSJ, Doc. 109; Discovery Order, Doc. 86 at 9.) Medical Defendants claim that they submitted their responses to Plaintiff's Second Request for Production on December 28, 2018. (Doc. 109 at 2 (citing Doc. 103-2 at 22).) Furthermore, Plaintiff's alleged conferral with defense counsel occurred in January to February of 2019; therefore, Plaintiff had ample time to raise this dispute and failed to do so until May 31, 2019. (Doc. 109 at 3.)

         The Court will permit the filing because if Plaintiff's claim that he cannot respond to the MSJ without these records is taken at face value, he may not have been aware of the significance of the documents until such motion was filed. Plaintiff filed the Motion to Compel soon after receiving the MSJ. Moreover, the Court did not set a deadline for raising discovery disputes.

         b. Compliance with Local Rule 37.1

         Medical Defendants also argue the Motion to Compel fails to list the specific disputed discovery responses and what action Plaintiff desires. (Doc. 109 at 3.) However, it is clear enough from the Reply clearly states that Plaintiff merely desires the exhibits attached to the MSJ's Statement of Facts. This is sufficiently clear to comply with the Local Rule. These timeliness and compliance determinations, however, do not resolve the breadth of discovery.

         c. Objections to Request for Productions

         i. All Medical Records

         Next, Medical Defendants claim that the relief Plaintiff seeks - all medical records from November 2016 to present - is far broader than permissible given both his allegations in the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) and the requests for production. (Doc. 109 at 3.) The FAC alleges that he suffered eye, sinus, throat, stomach, skin, and emotional problems after being exposed to hazardous chemicals when working on a hazmat crew. (Doc. 26 at 12-13.) Similarly, the Second Request for Production asks only for medical records pertaining to his eye, nose, and throat symptoms and mental health records regarding such symptoms. (Doc. 103-2 at 18 ¶1, 19 ¶ 6.)

         The Court agrees with Medical Defendants, discovery of all medical records since November 2016 is overly broad given the allegations and discovery requests. However, Plaintiff's reply limits the information needed to only the exhibits related to the MSJ. Medical Defendants contend that Plaintiff has already been given the attachments to the Statement of Facts in support of Medical Defendants' MSJ. (See Doc. 109 at 4.) But because it appears that Plaintiff has not received the ...


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