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 for sanctions. ECF No. 106.
Defendants oppose the motion. ECF No. 107. For the
reasons set forth below, the motion for sanctions will be
granted in part and denied in part.
prisoner civil rights case was filed by Plaintiff, who was at
that time proceeding pro se, on July 18, 2016. He named as
Defendants certain medical professionals who treated him at
the prison, including Dr. Fe Fuentes, Dr. Brenda Mallard, and
Nurse LaCinda Jones.
Court appointed Plaintiff's counsel to represent
Plaintiff in this matter on August 14, 2017. Since then, the
parties have exchanged discovery and various discovery
disputes have necessitated resolution by the Court and
extensions of case deadlines. The following is a recitation
of facts relevant to the instant motion for sanctions.
November 30, 2017, Defendants provided Plaintiff with 860
pages of initial disclosures, including Plaintiff's
medical records and informal grievance requests. On March 20,
2018, Plaintiff served his first set of discovery requests.
Discovery disputes ensued and ultimately resulted in
Plaintiff filing a motion to compel on April 12, 2019.
Meanwhile, Plaintiff proceeded with the depositions of Dr.
Mallard and Ms. Jones on March 15, 2019, and later, Dr.
Fuentes on April 29, 2019. Three days before Dr.
Fuentes's deposition, Defendants provided Plaintiff with
226 pages of discovery materials pertaining to job
descriptions, policies and procedures, and standards.
Defendants provided an additional 935 pages of discovery
materials after Dr. Fuentes's deposition, on May 7, 2019.
8, 2019, the Court entered a lengthy order addressing the
written discovery disputes raised in Plaintiff's motion
to compel. On May 23, 2019, Defendants provided Plaintiff
with 1, 496 pages of additional discovery materials related
to Corizon's orientation materials and its policies and
procedures. On June 4, 2019, Defendants sent a notice of
intent to serve a subpoena on the St. Louis City Justice
Center. ECF No. 107-3.
15, 2019, two days before Corizon's corporate
representative deposition, Defendants provided Plaintiff with
2, 308 pages of discovery materials relating to the upcoming
deposition. On the morning of the corporate representative
deposition, Defendants sent Plaintiff more relevant
documents. Most recently, on July 2, 2019, Defendants filed
their second supplemental answers to Plaintiff's
discovery requests, including 94 pages of offsite log sheets,
Plaintiff's call logs, employee agreements, and W-2s.
contends that Defendants' untimely production included
offsite treatment logs, Plaintiff's call logs wherein he
discusses his lack of medical treatment, communications
between Dr. Mallard and the regional medical director
pertaining to Plaintiff's scheduled surgery being missed,
Corizon policies pertaining to when to refer inmates for
outside medical treatment, job descriptions of several
defendants, documents referencing Ms. Jones failing to
respond to Plaintiff's grievance complaint, and grievance
records that Plaintiff was told did not exist.
August 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed this motion for sanctions for
Defendants' piecemeal document production that occurred
over the course of one year, as well as their failure to
provide many of the requested documents as part of their
initial disclosures. Plaintiff asks the Court to strike the
Corizon Defendants' answers and affirmative defenses for
their unfair document production delay tactics, which
resulted in Plaintiff's inability to use relevant
materials during the depositions of Ms. Jones,  Dr. Fuentes, Dr.
Mallard, and Corizon's corporate representative.
respond that they have worked diligently and in good faith to
answer Plaintiff's requests for production of documents,
which numbered over 500 and which, according to Defendants,
sought materials beyond the scope of Plaintiff's alleged
constitutional violations. Further, Defendants maintain that
several of the documents requested were in the possession of
a third party, which necessitated a subpoena and caused a
delay in production. Defendants maintain that they sent
subpoenas to obtain those records and produced them upon
reply, Plaintiff contends that he has been substantially
prejudiced by Defendants' late disclosures and demands
reimbursement for deposition preparation, court reporting
services, and time spent preparing his motion to compel,
totaling $9, 612.68.
Court's authority to sanction a party for its discovery
misconduct flows from its inherent power to ‘manage
[its] own affairs so as to achieve the orderly and
expeditious disposition of cases, including fashion[ing] an
appropriate sanction for conduct which abuses the judicial
process.'” HM Compounding Servs., LLC v.
Express Scripts, Inc., 349 F.Supp.3d 794, 799 (E.D. Mo.
2018) (quoting Knapp v. Convergys Corp., 209 F.R.D.
439, 442 (E.D. Mo. 2002)). Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 37, a district court has broad discretion to impose
sanctions for discovery violations, see Nat'l Hockey
League v. Metro. Hockey Club, Inc., 427 U.S. 639, 642-43
(1976), including “entering default judgment, striking
pleadings, providing an adverse jury instruction, or awarding
attorney's fees and costs.” Lapidus v. Life
Ins. Co. of N. Am., No. ...