Emery v. Salt Lake City Corporation et al
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER granting 43 Defendants Rule 37 Short Form Discovery Motion consistent with this order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner on 4/5/2017. (jds)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND
Case No. 2:13-cv-860-RJS-PMW
SALT LAKE CITY CORPORATION, et al.,
District Judge Robert J. Shelby
Chief Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner
Judge Robert J. Shelby referred this case to Chief Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). 1 Defendants Officer Timothy Stumm, Officer Kevin
Stayner, and the Salt Lake City Corporation (collectively “Defendants”) have filed a Rule 37
Short Form Discovery Motion seeking to compel Plaintiff Don Emery (“Mr. Emery”) to disclose
certain medical records. 2 Having reviewed the parties’ briefs and the relevant law, the court
renders the following Memorandum Decision and Order. 3
Mr. Emery’s complaint alleges that Defendants used excessive force during a routine
traffic stop. 4 The parties dispute Mr. Emery’s conduct during the traffic stop. Defendants claim
that Mr. Emery was combative and failed to comply with the officer’s commands. As a result,
Defendants argue that they were required to use reasonable force to handcuff Mr. Emery.
Dkt. No. 57.
Dkt. No. 43.
Pursuant to DUCivR 7-1(f) and DUCivR 37-1(a)(7), the court elects to determine the present motion on
the basis of the written memorandum and finds that oral argument would not be helpful or necessary.
Dkt. No. 4 at ¶ 47.
Conversely, Mr. Emery claims that he suffers from physical ailments that will demonstrate he
could not have resisted arrest or behaved combatively as the Defendants allege. 5
On January 25, 2016, the court entered an Amended Scheduling Order. 6 In the Amended
Scheduling Order, the parties stipulated to bifurcate discovery. 7 Specifically, the parties agreed
to “initially conduct discovery on the issues of liability and claims of immunity, following which
the parties will request further discovery on the issue of damages.” 8
Defendants’ motion to compel surrounds Mr. Emery’s refusal to provide Defendants the
medical records Mr. Emery claims will demonstrate that his physical conditions prevented him
from acting in the combative manner alleged by Defendants. Specifically, Defendants served
discovery requests on Mr. Emery seeking “information identifying the medical conditions he
contends are relevant to establishing liability in this action, why those medical conditions are
relevant to establishing liability, and the names of health care providers that have treated Mr.
Emery for those conditions.” 9 Defendants also requested that Mr. Emery sign a Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) release so that the Defendants can
obtain Mr. Emery’s medical records. 10 In response, Mr. Emery argues, in part, that Defendants’
discovery requests “primarily go to damages issues” and are “not relevant to the liability phase”
of this case. 11
Pursuant to Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “[p]arties may obtain
discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense and
Id. at ¶¶ 19–20.
Dkt. No. 36.
Id. at ¶ 2.
Dkt. No. 43 at 2.
Dkt. No. 44 at 2.
proportional to the needs of the case . . . .” Relevant information “need not be admissible in
evidence to be discoverable.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). “[T]he scope of discovery under the
federal rules is broad” and “discovery is not limited to issues raised by the pleadings, for
discovery . . . is designed to help define and clarify the issues.” Gomez v. Martin Marietta
Corp., 50 F.3d 1511, 1520 (10th Cir. 1995) (quoting Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437
U.S. 340, 351 (1978)). However, “[t]he court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a
party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense,” by
“forbidding inquiry into certain matters, or limiting the scope of disclosure or discovery to
certain matters . . . .” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1); see also DUCivR 26-2.
With these standards in mind, Defendants’ motion to compel is granted. Mr. Emery has
put his physical condition at the time of the traffic stop at issue. Accordingly, Mr. Emery is
ordered to produce any information relating to the medical conditions he claims to have been
suffering during the traffic stop. If Mr. Emery fails to disclose relevant medical evidence, he
will be precluded from utilizing such evidence at trial. Additionally, Mr. Emery’s counsel
should work with Defense counsel to find a mutually agreeable HIPAA release to allow
Defendants to lawfully obtain Mr. Emery’s relevant medical records. Moreover, Defendants’
counter expert deadline is extended to May 8, 2017, to accommodate any scheduling delays
caused by this discovery dispute.
Based on the forgoing, Defendants’ Rule 37 Short Form Discovery Motion 12 is
GRANTED consistent with this order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED this 5th Day of April, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
PAUL M. WARNER
Chief United States Magistrate Judge
Dkt. No. 43.
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