United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Lawrence Drummer,
Jr.'s motion to compel. ECF No. 88. The Corizon
Defendants oppose the motion. ECF No. 89. Upon due
consideration, the motion to compel will be granted in part
and denied in part.
filed this pro se prisoner civil rights action on July 18,
2016. ECF No. 1. On November 10, 2016, the Court granted
Plaintiff's request to appoint counsel, and on January 2,
2018, counsel filed an amended complaint. ECF No. 54. The
amended complaint alleges that on August 6, 2015, following
his arrest by the City of St. Louis police department,
Plaintiff presented to Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where he was
diagnosed with a torn right shoulder rotator cuff and was
told that it would require corrective surgery. Plaintiff
alleges that between August 10 and August 25, 2015, while
Plaintiff was incarcerated at the City of St. Louis Medium
Security Institution (“MSI”), he did not receive
any medical treatment or medication. He alleges that he
complained to facility personnel, nurses, and doctors about
the excruciating pain that he suffered in his right shoulder,
which was causing pain into his chest. Plaintiff contends
that he submitted several health services requests for his
shoulder pain and did not obtain the proper medication to
control his pain. Thus, in his amended complaint, Plaintiff
brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Corizon
Defendants for their deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff's serious medical needs and seeks monetary
damages and declaratory and injunctive relief.
litigation progressed, the parties sought multiple extensions
of Case Management Order deadlines due to delays related to
written discovery and depositions. On March 15, 2019, the
Court entered an Eighth Amended Case Management Order, which
specifically notes that no further extensions of the
deadlines would be granted. ECF No. 87. On April 12, 2019,
Plaintiff filed the instant motion to compel through
appointed counsel, claiming that over 30 of the Corizon
Defendants' discovery responses were deficient. The
Corizon Defendants collectively oppose the motion to compel.
As noted by Defendants, in this matter Plaintiff has
collectively served 250 interrogatories and over 500 requests
for production of documents to the Defendants in this case.
The Court has carefully reviewed the voluminous briefing on
the issues and will address the disputes by subject matter.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide for broad, but not
unlimited, discovery. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
a liberal standard, but “[s]ome threshold showing of
relevance must be made before parties are required to open
wide the doors of discovery and to produce a variety of
information which does not reasonably bear upon the issues in
the case.” Hofer v. Mack Trucks, Inc., 981
F.2d 377, 380 (8th Cir. 1992). “Upon a showing by the
requesting party that the discovery is relevant, the burden
is on the party resisting discovery to explain why discovery
should be limited.” Morrison v. Hale, No.
4:17-CV-875-NAB, 2018 WL 1792208, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 16,
2018) (citation omitted).
Meet and confer regarding medical records
addressing the specific discovery disputes in Plaintiff's
motion, the Court will address the issue raised by Plaintiff
regarding the quality of his medical records. Plaintiff
complains that portions of the medical records are
indecipherable. However, it is unclear to the Court whether
the records are indecipherable due to errors in copying or
indecipherable handwriting. Accordingly, the parties are
directed to meet and confer on this issue. If the errors are
due to copying, Corizon is instructed to provide Plaintiff
with a properly-copied set. If the handwriting is
indecipherable, the parties will discuss solutions to
obtaining the information contained therein.
Statements made by Plaintiff and Defendant Corizon
(Int. Nos. 4 and 6 directed to Corizon)
Nos. 4 and 6 directed to Corizon request information about
statements made by Plaintiff and Corizon. Corizon objects on
the basis that the interrogatories are overly broad, vague,
and not limited in time and scope. Subject to the objection,
Corizon states that it is unaware of any recordings or
documentation of such statements other than those found in
Plaintiff's grievance records, which Corizon produced.
Plaintiff maintains that these answers are incomplete because
Corizon failed to answer the subparts of the interrogatories
with respect to the grievance records, and he takes issue
with Corizon's response subject to an objection.
the 1993 amendment to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33,
defendants may object and answer an interrogatory to the
extent that it is not objectionable. Whitley v.
McClain, No. 4:13-CV-994-CEJ, 2014 WL 1400178, at *1
(E.D. Mo. Apr. 10, 2014); see Fed. R. Civ. P.
33(b)(3) (“Each interrogatory must, to the extent it is
not objected to, be answered separately and fully in writing
under oath.”). Further, the interrogated party may
refer to records when answering an interrogatory provided
that the interrogated party specifies the records from which
the answer may be derived or ascertained. Budget
Rent-A-Car of Mo., Inc. v. Hertz Corp., 55 F.R.D. 354,
357 (W.D. Mo. 1972); see also Whitley, 2014 WL
1400178 at *2 (holding that the defendants' answer
generally referring the plaintiff to documents produced,
including a police report, was adequate).
Plaintiff was referred generally to the grievance records,
which may include statements made by Plaintiff and Corizon.
This is sufficient. To the extent Plaintiff seeks the contact
information of individuals named in the medical and grievance
records, Corizon maintains that those parties are represented
for the purposes of this litigation, and thus, any attempt to
contact them should be made to defense counsel. Lastly,
although Corizon's objections are very general, Corizon
properly answered subject to the objection. Plaintiff's
motion to compel as to statements made by Plaintiff and
Corizon will be denied.
Individuals involved in medical decisions (Int. No.
17 directed to Corizon)
seeks information regarding all individuals (including their
titles, dates of termination if terminated, last known
address, and date of birth) involved in certain decisions
regarding Plaintiff's healthcare while incarcerated.
These medical decisions include, inter alia, the decision not
to send Plaintiff for follow-up treatment at Barnes-Jewish
Hospital in August 2015 and the decision to deny requests for
shoulder surgery from August 2015 to the present. In
response, Corizon referred Plaintiff to the medical records.
It also objected to providing the residential addresses of
any individuals for security and safety reasons.
takes issue with Corizon's response because it fails to
specifically identify which medical records are responsive to
the interrogatory. Further, Plaintiff complains that certain
portions of the medical records are largely indecipherable.
the information sought by Plaintiff is relevant to his
claims, and, generally, Corizon may refer Plaintiff to
medical records if information responsive to the request is
contained in the medical records. See Toney v.
Hakala, No. 4:10-CV-2056-JAR, 2012 WL 3656360, at *2
(E.D. Mo. Aug. 24, 2012) (holding that reference to medical
records “consisting of approximately 1, 082
pages” was acceptable). However, to the extent that
Corizon is aware of particular individuals who made decisions
regarding the treatment of Plaintiff's shoulder, it shall
identify those individuals. To the extent Plaintiff seeks
residential addresses, Defendants may provide the information
requested under the designation “for attorneys'
eyes only.” See Zink v. Lombardi, No.
2:12-CV-4209-NKL, 2013 WL 11768304, at *2 (W.D. Mo. May 31,
2013) (holding that providing the protocol during executions
under seal for attorneys' eyes only was sufficient to
address security concerns).
Plaintiff believes that individuals other than those listed
by Corizon made decisions regarding the treatment of
Plaintiff's shoulder, Plaintiff may identify them and
provide the list to Corizon. If Plaintiff is unable to
decipher the names from the medical records, the parties are
directed to meet and confer and attempt to resolve the
Plaintiff provides Corizon with a list of names, Corizon will
provide the information requested under the designation
“for attorneys' eyes only.” Alternatively,
the parties may agree to a protective order, as appropriate.
Prior lawsuits, grievances, or complaints (Int. Nos.
24, 25 directed to Corizon; RFP Nos. 41 directed to Corizon;
RFP Nos. ...