CHAPPELL v. GILMORE et al
ORDER denying 30 Motion to Compel Discovery.Signed by Chief Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly on 3/22/17. [A copy of this Order was mailed to Plaintiff on this date at his address of record]. (bb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ROBERT GILMORE, MARK
DIALESANDRO, JUBULANI SIBANDA,
and MICHAEL ANDERSON,
Civil Action No. 16-1317
Judge David Stewart Cercone
Chief Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly
Re: ECF No. 30
Plaintiff Mark Chappell (“Plaintiff”) is an inmate in the custody of the Pennsylvania
Department of Corrections (“DOC”), and is currently incarcerated at the State Correctional
Institution at Greene (“SCI-Greene”). Plaintiff has brought this civil rights actions against
Defendants Robert Gilmore (“Gilmore”), Mark DiAlesandro (“DiAlesandro”), Jubulani Sibanda
(“Sibanda”), and Michael Anderson (“Anderson”) (collectively, “Defendants”) alleging that
Defendants violated his rights provided by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United
States Constitution by excluding him from Nation of Islam religious services in retaliation for
filing grievances. ECF No. 6.
Presently before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Discovery, ECF No. 30, in
which he asks the Court to issue an Order directing Defendants Gilmore, DiAlesandro and
Sibana to fully answer certain interrogatories that Plaintiff submitted to them in January of 2017.
For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be denied.
The scope of discovery permitted by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure embraces all
“relevant information,” a concept which is defined in the following terms: “[r]elevant
information need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead
to the discovery of admissible evidence.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). The party moving to compel
discovery bears the initial burden of proving the relevance of the requested information.
Morrison v. Philadelphia Housing Auth., 203 F.R.D. 195, 196 (E.D. Pa. 2001). Further, it is well
established that “[f]acts are discoverable, the legal conclusions regarding those facts are not.”
Pilchesky v. Deputy U.S. Marshal Barone, No. 3:14-CV-381, 2016 WL 7118147, at *6 (M.D.
Pa. Dec. 7, 2016), quoting Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc. v. Home Indem. Co., 32 F.3d 851, 864 (3d
In this case, Plaintiff seeks responses to five questions:
“According to Institutional security, define penological Interest?”
(Gilmore and DiAlesandro Interrogatories No. 3);
“Do you know and understand the rights afforded to you by the U.S.
Constitution in regards to the Bill of rights?”
(Gilmore and DiAlesandro Interrogatories No. 4);
“When you find that your subordinates are in violation of federal rights,
D.O.C. policies and procedures, and protocols, are you required to
investigate said violations in totality if you’re abreast?”
(Gilmore and DiAlesandro Interrogatories No. 7);
“Does the U.S. Constitution give express rights to its citizens to freely
practice His or Her religion?”
(Gilmore Interrogatory No. 15; DiAlesandro Interrogatory No. 14;
Sibanda Interrogatory No. 18);
“Is it mandatory for your subordinates (low level staff) to follow
Constitutional law (state, federal), policies, procedures, and protocols
related to the effective operation at S.C.I. Greene?”
(Gilmore Interrogatory No. 2).
ECF No. 30-3 ¶¶ 3, 4, 7, 14; ECF No. 30-4 ¶ 2, 3, 4, 7, 15; ECF No. 30-5 ¶ 18.
As argued by Defendants, these questions are largely irrelevant to the issues in this case
and are otherwise unclear, overbroad and/or call for legal conclusions. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s
Motion is DENIED.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Maureen P. Kelly
MAUREEN P. KELLY
CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Dated: March 22, 2017
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370
All counsel of record via CM/ECF
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