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Timothy Fenstermacher v. Samuel Moreno

December 6, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

(Doc. 46)


Plaintiff Timothy Fenstermacher ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On September 10, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion to quash or modify a subpoena Defendant Moreno served on the litigation coordinator at the California Correctional Institution/California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to obtain Plaintiff's medical and dental records, as well as the contents of Plaintiff's central file.

I. Background

A. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff claims that Defendants Samuel Moreno and Ruben Robles violated Plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment by using excessive force against him. Plaintiff alleges that on June 20, 2006, Moreno and Robles attacked Plaintiff while he was restrained in handcuffs. Plaintiff was allegedly slammed face first into a concrete wall. Plaintiff also alleges that Moreno took Plaintiff's handcuffs and intentionally tightened them as much as he could to injure Plaintiff's wrists. Moreno also lifted Plaintiff off his feet and slammed him into the ground. Plaintiff claims that he suffered a laceration across the bridge of his nose and injuries to his left shoulder and left arm. Moreno allegedly slammed his knee into the back of Plaintiff's head repeatedly. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Robles acted "in concert" with Defendant Moreno.

Plaintiff also alleges that Moreno and Robles filed false incident reports to cover up the incident.

B. Plaintiff's Motion to Quash

Plaintiff contends that the documents sought are irrelevant and overly burdensome. Defendant Moreno's subpoena requests the litigation coordinator at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") and the California Correctional Institution to produce Plaintiff's medical records and central file.

With respect to his medical records, Plaintiff contends that the burden of producing the documents outweighs any relevance the records may have. Plaintiff contends that his complaint only alleges injuries to the bridge of his nose, abrasions to his head and face, injuries to his wrists, and injuries to his shoulders and left arm. Plaintiff claims that records regarding his dental history have no relevance to the injuries alleged in his complaint. Plaintiff also argues that any medical records that are not related to the specific injuries alleged in his complaint are not relevant. Plaintiff also argues that the subpoena should be modified to exclude medical records that are old.*fn1

Plaintiff also contends that many of the documents in his central file contain personal information that is not relevant to this action. Plaintiff states that he does not object to the release of documents related to his disciplinary history or an outline of his criminal history. Plaintiff argues that the transcripts and probation reports should be obtained from the courts that issued them rather than from Plaintiff's central file because those documents are "more readly[sic] available from the court, as part of public[sic] record." (Pl.'s Motions to Quash or Modify Subpoena 5, ECF No. 46.) Plaintiff argues that the request for his "general chronologies, work reports, miscellaneous official correspondence and other documents" is vague and ambiguous and "is a perfect example of a fishing expedition." (Pl's Motions to Quash 5, ECF No. 46.) Plaintiff contends these documents have no relevance to this case. Finally, Plaintiff objects to the production of any psychiatric reports or narcotic addiction evaluations because Plaintiff's mental health is not an issue of disputed fact in this case.

C. Defendant's Opposition

Defendant Moreno filed an opposition to Plaintiff's motion to quash on September 27, 2010. (Doc. #51.) Moreno indicates that he is willing to limit the scope of the medical records sought to include only the medical records related to the condition of Plaintiff's head, face, and upper extremities, including Plaintiff's shoulders and wrists. Moreno argues that it is not appropriate to set an arbitrary time limit regarding how far back he can request the medical records because medical injuries can take years, if not decades, to play out.

With respect to the documents in Plaintiff's central file, Moreno argues that he is entitled to the records held by CDCR despite the fact that they could be obtained from another source. Moreno also states that he is generally willing to forgo production of Plaintiff's general chronologies, but contends that the production of Plaintiff's chronologies could lead to admissible evidence regarding Plaintiff's character for truthfulness or Plaintiff's character for engaging in assaultive conduct. Similarly, Moreno seeks production of Plaintiff's psychiatric reports and ...

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