Brooks v. Tate

Filing 57

ORDER DENYING Plaintiff's 42 Motion to Compel, signed by Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Beck on 8/7/13. (Martin-Gill, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 RODNEY BROOKS, 12 13 14 15 Plaintiff, v. HAROLD TATE, Case No. 1:11-cv-01503 AWI-DLB PC ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL (Document 42) Defendant. 16 17 Plaintiff Rodney Brooks (“Plaintiff”) is a California state prisoner proceeding pro se and in 18 forma pauperis in this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action is proceeding against 19 Defendant Harold Tate for claims of retaliation in violation of the First Amendment and deliberate 20 indifference to a serious medical need in violation of the Eighth Amendment. 21 On March 18, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel responses to Plaintiff’s request for 22 production of documents. Defendant filed an opposition on March 22, 2013, and Plaintiff filed a 23 reply on April 8, 2013. 24 LEGAL STANDARD 25 “Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the 26 claim or defense of any party . . . . Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the 27 discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” Fed. R. 28 Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Defendants are required to “furnish such information as is available” to him in 1 1 responding to Plaintiff’s interrogatories, and documents which are in his “possession, custody or 2 control” in responding to Plaintiff’s request for the production of documents. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33(a), 3 34(a). If Defendant objects to one of Plaintiff’s discovery requests, it is Plaintiff’s burden to 4 demonstrate why the objection is not justified. Plaintiff must inform the court which discovery 5 requests are the subject of his motion to compel, and, for each disputed response, inform the Court 6 why the information sought is relevant and why Defendant’s objections are not justified. 7 From the parties’ filings, it appears that Plaintiff seeks an order compelling Defendant to 8 provide further responses to Requests for Production Numbers 3 and 4. These requests seek “the 9 specific number” of inmate appeals, staff complaints and civil suits filed against Defendant “that 10 refer or relate to his conduct or treatment as a physician.” Wagley Decl. Ex A. In his responses, 11 Defendant objected the requests as unlikely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence and over 12 broad. Defendant also objected on the basis that the requests “seek documents that are privileged 13 and which invade responding party’s privacy.” Wagley Decl. Ex. B. The Court first notes that although Plaintiff’s requests are styled as Requests for Production, 14 15 the requests appear to be asking only for a number, rather than documents containing additional 16 and/or specific information. Given Plaintiff’s status as a pro se litigant, the Court will excuse the 17 procedural mistake and treat the requests as interrogatories.1 The request for only a specific number 18 also moots Defendant’s objection based on privilege and/or privacy. 19 Plaintiff contends that the information is relevant to Defendant’s credibility and “to 20 demonstrate that the Defendant Tate has a pattern and reputation of treating inmates with deliberate 21 indifference.” Mot. 3. Defendant argues that information regarding unrelated incidents and 22 allegations would not be relevant to Plaintiff’s claims. 23 The Court agrees that the request is overbroad, and seeks information not relevant or 24 reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. This action is proceeding on 25 an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim and First Amendment retaliation claim against 26 Defendant Tate. The issues are solely related to Defendant Tate’s treatment and/or actions taken 27 1 28 Plaintiff confirms his intention in his reply, stating that he “does not seek names or content just specifically the number and types of grievances and suits that relate” to Defendant’s treatment of inmates as a physician. Reply 2. However, because the actual requests seek only the “specific number” of grievances, etc., the Court will not include “types” of grievances, etc. in the request. 2 1 towards Plaintiff, therefore making his treatment of other inmates irrelevant. Moreover, Plaintiff 2 requests the information to show a “pattern and practice” of deliberate indifference, but simply 3 because an inmate grievance or lawsuit was filed does not mean that Defendant acted with deliberate 4 indifference in those instances. Finally, such evidence would likely be inadmissible character 5 evidence. Fed. R. Evid. 404(b). For these reasons, Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel is DENIED. 6 7 8 IT IS SO ORDERED. 9 Dated: /s/ Dennis August 7, 2013 L. Beck UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 10 DEAC_Signature-END: 11 3b142a 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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