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Brodigan v. Roberts

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

September 20, 2019

DAVID JAMES BRODIGAN, Plaintiff,
v.
JONATHAN ROBERTS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOHN A. ROSS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for an Order Directing Defendants’ Counsel to Serve Plaintiff with Copies of All Filings (Doc. 30), Motion to Compel (Doc. 32), Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 34), Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint (Doc. 43), Motion to Stay Discovery (Doc. 45), “Motion of Discovery” (Doc. 48), Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 54), Motion to Place Case in Court Ordered Mediation (Doc. 55), and Motion for Leave to Respond (Doc. 58). The Court will consider them in order.

         Motion for an Order Directing Defendants’ Counsel to Serve Plaintiff with Copies of All Filings (Doc. 30)

         Defendant asks the Court to order Defendants to send him additional copies of all filings. (Doc. 30.) He states that he has not received any filing since Defendants’ waiver of service an entry of appearance in September 2018. (Id.) Defendants respond that the Court has previously denied motions for default judgment based on the same arguments and represent that they have already sent to Plaintiff and confirmed receipt of hundreds of pages of filings and discovery. (Doc. 31.) In addition, Defendants assert that Plaintiff has made no attempt to contact counsel directly to address any delivery issues. (Id. at 3.)

         Given Defendants’ representations and included evidence of posting and delivery of documents, the Court will deny Plaintiff’s motion. Moreover, Plaintiff has obviously received some materials given his detailed motion to compel, in which he discusses in depth Defendants’ discovery responses. (See Doc. 32.)

         Motion to Compel (Doc. 32)

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1), the 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.” Plaintiff asserts that Defendants have failed to adequately respond to a number of discovery requests. (Doc. 32.) The Court considers them in turn:

         [1.] All electronically stored information, including all text messages and email’s [sic] between any defendant or their agents . . . discussing or in anyway [sic] referencing the Plaintiff and/or his medical treatment from the years 2012 through the date of this filing.

         Defendants object on several grounds, including that the request is overbroad and ambiguous, that none of the individual Defendants worked for Corizon before 2016, and that the materials are privileged. (Doc. 33 at 2.) However, Defendants’ primary argument (to this and several other of Plaintiff’s demands) is that Plaintiff seeks irrelevant materials.

         The crux of Defendants’ argument is that the Court dismissed all but one of Plaintiff’s claims, allowing him to proceed solely on his claim of deliberate indifference to his hernia. (See Doc. 33 at 2 (“The Court allowed Plaintiff’s claims to proceed concerning ‘severe pain from an inguinal hernia approximately 2011 through 2016’ and the subsequent surgery.”).) That is not accurate; the Court also allowed Plaintiff to proceed against Corizon on a claim that “[it] and its employees have an unconstitutional policy of denying medical care predicated on the cost of treatment or the costs of procedures . . . to the detriment of their patients’ health.” (Doc. 9 at 6-7.) The second claim would reasonably encompass decisions as to the treatment of medical issues other than Plaintiff’s hernia and the Court will therefore assess Defendants’ relevance arguments with both claims in mind.

         Still, the Court agrees that Plaintiff’s discovery requests must be limited in time and scope, specifically as to his medical treatment. Plaintiff’s request for “[a]ll electronically stored information . . . discussing or in anyway [sic] referencing the Plaintiff” is overbroad insofar as it would necessarily contain communications outside of Plaintiff’s medical care. To the extent Plaintiff seeks documentation regarding discussions about “his medical treatment from the years 2012 through the date of this filing, ” that request is more relevant but still overbroad. Notably, Defendants represent that they have already produced most of Plaintiff’s medical records and promise to supplement them dating back to 2012. (Doc. 33 at 27-28.) The Court concludes that any additional, non-privileged, communications since 2012 that discuss the cost of treating any of Plaintiff’s medical conditions are relevant to Plaintiff’s second claim and discoverable. Defendants are therefore directed to provide any such documents in their possession or control.

         2. [E]ach Defendants’ federal and state tax filings and returns for the fiscal years 2012 through the date of this request.

         The Court finds that these materials are not relevant. They have no connection whatever to Plaintiff’s first claim and Corizon’s tax documents are not probative of whether it makes decisions based on financial considerations as alleged in Plaintiff’s second claim. Tax liability tells Plaintiff nothing about whether and to what extent Corizon takes into account the costs of a given treatment before offering it. The Court will deny Plaintiff’s motion to compel a response to this request.

         3. [A]ny and all independent contractor [contracts] between any defendants and/or and defendants and Corizon and/or the Missouri Department of Corrections [(“MDOC”)] and any other third party for the years 2012 through the date of this request.

         4. [A]ny and all contracts between Corizon and the State of Missouri and/or the MDOC to perform medical services to inmates for the years 2012 through the date of this request.

         6. [A]ny and all contracts between Corizon and any third party medical provider contracted by Corizon to provide supplemental or specialized medical care to the Plaintiff the years 2012 through the date of this request.

         Defendants argue that none of the individual defendants is an independent contractor and that therefore none of them have a contract with Corizon or the MDOC. (Doc. 33 at 4-5.) In addition, Defendants argue that Corizon’s contracts with the MDOC or third-parties are not relevant to Plaintiff’s claims. (Id.)

         The Court agrees that the contracts sought in Plaintiff’s third request for production are not relevant to his claims because none of the individual Defendants is an independent contractor and therefore none of Corizon’s contracts with independent contractors shed light on the medical decisions made during his treatment. However, Plaintiff’s sixth request for production seeks contracts with third-party medical providers who actually provided Plaintiff with medical care and therefore those contracts could reasonably contain information relating to decisions regarding Plaintiff’s medical treatment. Defendants argue that Plaintiff does not name any third-party medical provider as a defendant in this case, but the Court concludes that the contracts are nevertheless relevant to understanding the costs of treating Plaintiff’s medical conditions, which is the subject of Plaintiff’s second claim. Accordingly, the Court will direct Defendants to submit to the Court any contracts between Defendant and a third-party medical provider who treated Plaintiff, for in-camera review to determine if they contain any relevant discoverable material.

         It might also be true that Corizon’s contracts with the MDOC would shed light on its policies regarding cost-based medical decisions, but the Court finds that Plaintiff’s fourth request for production is overbroad as written and will therefore deny Plaintiff’s motion to compel as to that request.

         7. [E]ach of the defendants[‘] personnel files maintained by Corizon, including, but not limited to, all disciplinary actions taken against each defendant for deliberate indifference, negligence, professional misconduct, or other addressed misconduct.

         Defendants object to this request as irrelevant, arguing that the individual Defendants’ past personnel and disciplinary records do not relate to their medical decision making and treatment of Plaintiff. (Doc. 33 at 10.) In addition, they argue that the records contain “highly personal and confidential information” which, if revealed, “poses a serious security risk” to them and their families. (Id.) The Court agrees that this information is not relevant to either of Plaintiff’s claims and will deny his request to compel a response.

         8. [A]ny and all company newsletters provided to each defendant by Corizon or any other entity designed to inform employees of news or developments since 2012 to the date of this request, to include handling medical services requests, specialist referrals, costs, profitability, specialized third party contract referrals, or relating to any defendant, Plaintiff and/or Plaintiff’s claims set forth in the Complaint.

         Defendants argue that Corizon does not generate newsletters or similar publications and thus they have nothing to produce. (Doc. 33 at 12-13.) In addition, they argue that none of the Defendants was employed by Corizon before 2016, rendering any earlier internal communications irrelevant. (Id. at 12.) Moreover, Defendants argue that the vast majority ...


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