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Darren Henderson v. T. Felker

June 21, 2011



Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He filed a motion on April 8, 2011 requesting that the court "determine the sufficiency of answers to interrogatories and admissions of defendants and of documents produced by defendants," which the court construes as a motion to compel. Dckt. No. 86. Defendants Roche, Felker and Dovey oppose plaintiff's motion. Dckt. No. 88. For the reasons provided below, plaintiff's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

This action proceeds on the October 4, 2006 amended complaint in which plaintiff alleges that he is an insulin dependent diabetic with related complications, including high blood pressure and neuropathy, which causes poor blood flow, and pain and numbness in his legs and feet. He further alleges that without proper preventative care, he is at high risk for heart disease, stroke, infection, blindness and amputation. Plaintiff alleges that he requires: 1) daily access to an exercise yard to walk or run to increase the blood flow to his heart and legs; 2) effective distribution of medications (including insulin to control sugar levels, Neurontin for pain, and Enalapril for high blood pressure); 3) a special diet prepared by a medically trained dietician; and 4) an emergency plan to prevent hypoglycemia while confined in a cell overnight. According to plaintiff, defendants Dovey, Felker, and Roche ("defendants") implemented and approved policies and practices at High Desert State Prison ("High Desert"), which had an overall effect of denying plaintiff his right to adequate medical care, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. See Dckt. No. 16.

On March 8, 2011, plaintiff filed several motions to compel defendants to fully answer his discovery requests. Dckt. Nos. 81-84. On April 13, 2011, the court denied those latter motions because plaintiff did not indicate how any of the responses were deficient. Dckt. No.

87. The court also explained, that "[w]ithout knowing how defendants responded to plaintiff's discovery requests, or on what grounds plaintiff moves to compel further responses, there is no basis on which to grant plaintiff's motions." Id. at 2.

On April 25, 2011, plaintiff filed objections to the court's April 13, 2011 order. Dckt. No. 89. It is not clear to the court on what basis plaintiff objects. However, it appears that plaintiff may be under the mistaken belief that the April 13 order denied his April 8 motion, which is only now being considered by the court. Accordingly, the objections will be disregarded.

II. Plaintiff's April 8, 2011 Motion (Dckt. No. 86)

On April 8, plaintiff moved "for an order to determine the sufficiency of the responses to requests for interrogatories and admissions served on defendants . . . . and that this court determine the sufficiency of documents produced by the defendants." Dckt. No. 86. Defendants opposed plaintiff's motion on April 18. Dckt. No. 88. Without specifically addressing any of the discovery responses that plaintiff challenges, defendants contend that plaintiff's motion should be denied in its entirety because they "have fully responded to all written discovery, to the best of their knowledge, and therefore complied with the respective Discovery Rules, and because [plaintiff] has failed to meet his burden as to why Defendants' responses were not appropriate." Id. at 2.

Plaintiff identifies specific discovery responses as deficient. Although he does not articulate why the responses are deficient, some of them, as discussed below, are plainly non-responsive or fail to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the motion is granted as to those responses, and is otherwise denied.

A. Defendants' Responses to Plaintiff's Interrogatories

Plaintiff identifies as deficient defendants' responses to his interrogatories numbers 2, 5, 7, and 23.

In interrogatory number 2, plaintiff asked defendants to describe any training they had received while working at High Desert State Prison and/or for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on the outpatient care of diabetic inmates. Defendants objected to the request as vague, ambiguous, overly broad, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Those objections lack merit and are overruled.

Without waiving their objections, each defendant provided a response to the interrogatory. Defendant Roche responded "none." Dckt. No. 86 at 50.*fn1 Defendant Felker responded, "I do not recall having any training while at High Desert State Prison from May 1997 through October 2008 for out patient care of Diabetic inmates housed at California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Nor do I recall having any out patient care of diabetic inmates training for my time employed by CDCR." Id. at 28. Defendant Dovey responded "I have never worked at High Desert State Prison." Id. at 9.

Defendants Felker and Roche appear to have adequately responded to the interrogatory and the court discerns no basis from which to order further responses. However, defendant Dovey's response, that he never worked at High Desert State Prison, is non-responsive to the interrogatory, which encompassed not only High Desert, but the California Department of Corrections and ...

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