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Brooks v. Alameida

April 28, 2009

JAMES L. BROOKS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDWARD S. ALAMEIDA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S DISCOVERY MOTIONS AND DIRECTING THE FILING OF PRETRIAL STATEMENTS

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter is currently before the court on plaintiff's motions to compel discovery. This action proceeds on plaintiff's October 23, 2006 second amended complaint against defendants Alameida, Hubbard, Runnels and Roche alleging violations of plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff alleges he should not have been housed in an upper tier following foot surgery, that he should have been provided with adequate care following his fall down some stairs on December 23, 2002, and that the implementation of a two-year lockdown impeded his recovery. Each of these facts, he claims, violated his Eight Amendment rights.

On May 2, 2008, plaintiff filed a motion to compel discovery. On May 30, 2008, he filed two additional discovery motions, to which defendants did not respond. Accordingly, on November 24, 2008, the court ordered defendants to respond to plaintiff's motions.*fn1 On December 9, 2008, defendants complied and filed a supplemental opposition brief.*fn2 For the reasons stated below, plaintiff's motions must be denied and the court sets the matter for pretrial conference.

I. Plaintiff's May 2, 2008 Motion to Compel (Docket No. 118)

Plaintiff requests an order to defendants to produce: (1) rules, regulations, and policies of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") concerning treatment of prisoners with neck strain/swelling of the vertebra column causing spasms; (2) all written statements regarding incidents on December 6, 2002, December 19, 2002, December 23, 2002, December 25, 2002, December 27, 2002, and June 17, 2003 through 2005; (3) his medical records from December 6, 2002 through April of 2008; and (4) his complete prison records.

Plaintiff propounded a request for production on defendants Alameida and Hubbard, but did not propound a request for production on defendants Runnels or Roche. Defs.' Supplemental Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. to Compel ("Defs.' Supp. Opp'n") at 2, Decl. of Steele in Supp. Thereof ("Steele Decl.") ¶ 6, Ex. E. Thus, there is no basis for granting plaintiff's motion to compel as to defendants Runnels and Roche. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(3)(B)(iv) (authorizing a party to file a motion to compel discovery where a party has failed to respond to a request for production of documents). Therefore, the court will address plaintiff's motion only to the extent it seeks to compel discovery from defendants Alameida and Hubbard.

Plaintiff now seeks in his motion documents that he did not request in his discovery request; namely, documents containing CDCR rules and regulations regarding neck strain or swelling. See Steele Decl., Ex. E (copy of plaintiff's request for production and defendants' responses). Because plaintiff never sought such documents in discovery, his motion is denied as to this request.

Plaintiff also seeks to compel defendants to produce documents regarding incidents that occurred on various dates listed in his motion. This request, however, does not specifically correspond to any specific request for production. Rather, it overlaps with at least four of plaintiff's requests. See id. at Request Nos. 2, 3, 4, 7. Defendants assert that they produced all documents responsive to plaintiff's discovery requests other than confidential attorney-client communications. Defs.' Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. to Compel ("Defs.' Opp'n") at 3, 4. In light of this response and the generalized nature of plaintiff's motion there is nothing more that can be ordered. Without knowing which requests for production plaintiff seeks to compel and on what grounds, the court must deny plaintiff's motion as to this request.

As to plaintiff's request for certain medical records, defendants assert that they have produced to plaintiff all of the medical records he sought in discovery. Id. at 4. While plaintiff asserts in his reply brief that defendants have only produced a portion of his medical records, he fails to provide any details as to what portion of his medical records he sought in discovery that defendants have refused to produce. See Pl.'s Nov. 19, 2008 Reply to Defs.' Opp'n ("Pl.'s Reply") at 1. Once again, plaintiff articulates no grounds upon which the court could grant his motion as to this request, and therefore, the motion is denied as to this request.

Finally, in response to plaintiff's request for his complete prison records, defendants agreed, in a supplemental response to plaintiff's request for production filed with their opposition brief, to make the complete contents of plaintiff's central file available to him. See Defs.' Opp'n, Decl. of Steele in Supp. Thereof, ¶ 3, Ex. B. Thus, plaintiff's motion as to this request is denied as moot.

II. Plaintiff's May 30, 2008 Discovery Motions (Docket Nos. 123, 124)

In his May 30, 2008 motions, plaintiff seeks the following: (1) responses to interrogatories from defendant Runnels; (2) responses to request for admissions; and (3) further responses to interrogatories from defendants Alameida, Hubbard, and Roche. Pl.'s May 30, 2008 Mot. (Docket No. 123), Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 5, 6; Pl.'s May 30, 2008 Mot. (Docket No. 124).

Defendants assert that defendant Runnels prepared responses to plaintiff's request for interrogatories. However, they "cannot locate a proof of service, and cannot tell whether Runnels's name was left off the proof of service or the responses were not served." Defs.' Supp. Opp'n at 3-4. Counsel for defendants also states that he will serve those responses on plaintiff as soon as possible. Steele Decl. ¶ 7. Plaintiff did not file a reply brief, and thus, it appears that defendants have satisfied plaintiff's request.

Defendants also assert that on April 4, 2008, defendants Alameida, Hubbard and Roche served responses to plaintiff's request for admissions. Defs.' Supp. Opp'n at 2; Steele Decl., Ex. A. Counsel for defendants further asserts he did not receive request for admissions directed to defendant Runnels. Steele Decl. ¶ 2. Here, too, it appears that defendants have satisfied plaintiff's request.

Finally, plaintiff seeks further responses from defendants Alameida, Hubbard, and Roche to his requests for interrogatories. Plaintiff does not however, identify which requests that he contends require further responses or why the responses that were provided are deficient. The court has reviewed defendants' responses and it appears as though defendants' have ...


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