Arnold v. Hutchinson et al
ORDER Denying 11 Motion to Release all Medical Records and Granting in Part and Denying in Part 22 Motion to Compel Discovery - Signed by Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub. (LBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
CRAIG HUTCHISON, M.D.,
and RICHARD HARBAUGH, R.N.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-cv-13403
DISTRICT JUDGE JUDITH E. LEVY
MAGISTRATE JUDGE MONA K. MAJZOUB
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO RELEASE ALL
MEDICAL RECORDS  AND GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT HUTCHISON’S
MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY 
Plaintiff Earl Arnold, a former prisoner at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in
Adrian, Michigan,1 filed this pro se civil rights Complaint against Defendants R. Harbaugh, a
registered nurse and employee of the Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC”), and Dr.
Craig Hutchison, the Director of Correctional Medical Services for Corizon Health Services, a
contractor of MDOC. (Docket no. 1.) Before the Court are Plaintiff’s Motion to Release all
Medical Records (docket no. 11), and Defendant Hutchison’s Motion to Compel Discovery from
Plaintiff (docket no. 22).2 Neither party has responded to either motion. All pretrial matters
have been referred to the undersigned for consideration.
(Docket no. 9.)
The Court has
reviewed the pleadings and dispenses with oral argument pursuant to Eastern District of
Plaintiff is now residing at the Hornes Boarding House in Flint, Michigan. (Docket no. 8.)
Also before the Court are Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 12) and Defendant
Harbaugh’s Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 14), which the Court will address in a separatelyissued Report and Recommendation.
Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f)(2).
The Court is now ready to rule pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Plaintiff claims that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical
needs by not properly treating his hepatitis C, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
42 U.S.C. §§ 12101–12213, and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 701–718. (Docket no. 1 at
Specifically, he claims that Defendants “have a blanket policy of allowing patient[’]s
condition to worsen to a deadly stage before treating.” (Id.) He also alleges that Defendants’
failure to properly treat his Hepatitis constitutes a “depriv[ation] of a right secured by the Federal
Constitution,” and appears to assert a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Id. at 4, 6.) Finally, near
the end of his Complaint, Plaintiff writes, “[m]ay I add to this claim a medical malpractice
claim.” (Docket no. 1 at 11.)
Plaintiff sues Defendants in their individual and official capacities, and seeks $500,000 in
damages. He also asks the Court to: 1) order “the production of the (CDC) Center for Disease
Control’s essential treatment protocols” and the “Medical Associations current preeminent
treatment protocols,” and 2) order “Dr. Hutchison, and R. Harbaugh to immediately start proper
treatment . . . and to change the current policies in place that cause present and future Hepatitis
C patients to wait until their disease is causing cirrhosis before treatment.” (Id. at 5.)
Before the Court are two discovery motions. The scope of discovery under the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure is traditionally quite broad. Lewis v. ACB Bus. Servs., 135 F.3d 389,
402 (6th Cir. 1998). Parties may obtain discovery on any matter that is not privileged, is relevant
to any party’s claim or defense, and is proportional to the needs of the case. Fed. R. Civ. P.
26(b)(1). “Relevant evidence” is “evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any
fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than
it would be without the evidence.” Fed. R. Evid. 401. Information need not be admissible in
evidence to be discoverable. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). But the scope of discovery is not
unlimited. “District courts have discretion to limit the scope of discovery where the information
sought is overly broad or would prove unduly burdensome to produce.” Surles ex rel. Johnson v.
Greyhound Lines, Inc., 474 F.3d 288, 305 (6th Cir. 2007).
Rules 33 and 34 allow a party to serve interrogatories and requests for production of
documents on an opposing party. Fed. R. Civ. P. 33, 34. A party receiving these types of
discovery requests has thirty days to respond with answers or objections. Fed. R. Civ. P.
33(b)(2), 34(b)(2)(A). Rule 30 allows a party to conduct a deposition of any person without
leave of court, subject to certain exceptions. Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(a)(1). If the party receiving
discovery requests under Rules 33 or 34 fails to respond properly, or if the person whose
deposition is sought under Rule 30 fails to properly comply with the rule, Rule 37 provides the
party who sent the discovery the means to file a motion to compel. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(3). If a
court grants a Rule 37 motion to compel, or if discovery is received after a Rule 37 motion is
filed, then the court must award reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees to the successful party,
unless the successful party did not confer in good faith before the motion, the opposing party’s
position was substantially justified, or other circumstances would make an award unjust. Fed. R.
Civ. P. 37(a)(5)(A).
The entirety of Plaintiff’s Motion consists of the following: “I Earl Arnold #308227 ask
the Court for full discovery. I motion the defendants and court to release all medical records,
and telemedicine consultation with infections disease specialist. Thank you.” (Docket no. 11.)
Plaintiff does not indicate whether Defendants were served with formal Rule 34 discovery
requests (or whether MDOC was served with a subpoena) prior to filing the Motion. For this
reason, the Court will deny Plaintiff’s discovery request. Discovery requests must be served
upon a party, such as Defendant, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34. Requests for
information from third parties must be served in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 45. Filing a motion to compel is not the proper way to commence discovery. If
Plaintiff properly serves Defendants with a discovery request and they still do not produce the
medical records Plaintiff seeks, Plaintiff is free to file a new motion to compel.
Defendant Hutchison’s Motion to Compel (docket no. 22) also concerns Plaintiff’s
medical records. Defendant Hutchison served Plaintiff with a request for the production of
documents on February 1, 2017. (Docket no. 22-1). Through the request, Defendant Hutchison
asked Plaintiff to sign and return an authorization for the release of his MDOC medical records
dating from March 25, 2013, to the present. (Docket no. 22-1.) On March 17, 2017, Defendant
Hutchison filed his Motion to Compel, indicating that Plaintiff had yet to sign and return the
authorization. (Docket no. 22.) These medical records are clearly relevant in this case, where
Plaintiff contends that Defendants have acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical
needs. The dates requested are reasonable, as Plaintiff’s own prison grievances indicate that his
condition dates back to December 2012. (See Docket no. 1 at 13.) Moreover, Plaintiff himself
has asked the Court to order Defendants to produce his medical records, so it is in Plaintiff’s
interest to sign and return the authorization.
The Court will grant therefore Defendant
Hutchison’s Motion in part and order Plaintiff to sign the authorization and return it to Defendant
Defendant Hutchison also asks the Court to award him attorney fees and costs incurred in
filing the Motion to Compel, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a)(5). (Docket no.
22 at 11–12.) In the alternative, Defendant Hutchison asks the Court to order that Plaintiff be
prohibited from seeking economic damages due to Plaintiff’s failure to respond to the discovery
request. (Id. at 12.) Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, and lives in a boarding
house after having been released from prison in October. (Docket nos. 5, 8.) The Court will
therefore deny Defendant Hutchison’s request for costs and fees. The Court also will not
sanction Plaintiff by prohibiting him from seeking economic damages at this time. Plaintiff is,
however, advised that any further failure to comply with discovery—for example, by not
complying with this Order in a timely fashion thereby forcing Defendants to seek further
assistance from the Court—could result in sanctions.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Release all Medical Records
 is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Hutchison’s Motion to Compel Discovery
from Plaintiff  is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff is ordered to
sign and return the medical authorization/release to Defendant Hutchison by Friday, May 19.
Defendant Hutchison’s request for fees and costs or other sanctions is DENIED.
NOTICE TO THE PARTIES
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a), the parties have a period of fourteen
days from the date of this Order within which to file any written appeal to the District Judge as
may be permissible under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Dated: May 3, 2017
s/ Mona K. Majzoub
MONA K. MAJZOUB
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
PROOF OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that a copy of this Report and Recommendation was served upon Plaintiff
and counsel of record on this date.
Dated: May 3, 2017
s/ Lisa C. Bartlett
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