United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE REPLY AND DENYING MOTION TO QUASH AND FOR SANCTIONS
SHEILA K. OBERTO, Magistrate Judge.
I. Procedural Background
Plaintiff Kevin Darnell Bryant, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on March 17, 2011. This action is proceeding on Plaintiff's amended complaint against Defendants Schaefer, Lopez, Keldgord, Harrington, and Flynn for violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Plaintiff's claim arises out of a prison policy and practice of crushing and floating Gabapentin and Tramadol, which allegedly caused internal injury to Plaintiff, including severe erosive esophagitis and esophageal hemorrhaging.
On April 24, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion to quash and for sanctions, and on May 12, 2014, Defendants Schaefer, Lopez, Keldgord, Harrington, and Flynn filed oppositions. (Docs. 93, 98, 100, 101.) Plaintiff filed a reply on May 23, 2014, along with a motion for leave to reply. (Docs. 102, 106.) As the moving party, Plaintiff was entitled to file a reply, and therefore, his motion for leave is denied as moot. Local Rule 230( l ).
Plaintiff's motion to quash and for sanctions has been submitted upon the record without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 230( l ) and for the reasons which follow, it is denied.
A. Parties' Positions
Plaintiff moves to quash a subpoena issued on January 8, 2013, by Defendants Keldgord, Harrington, and Flynn commanding Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield, California to produce Plaintiff's medical records; and a subpoena issued on April 9, 2014, by Defendant Schaefer commanding the Custodian of Records at California State Prison-Corcoran to produce Plaintiff's medical records, inmate appeals records, and portions of Plaintiff's non-confidential central file. (Doc. 93, Motion, Exs. A, E.) Plaintiff also seeks sanctions against Defendants Keldgord, Harrington, Flynn, and Schaefer for moving to subpoena his records in violation of the Court's order prohibiting discovery; and he seeks sanctions against Defendant Lopez for obtaining his medical records after he signed a release, also in violation of the Court's order prohibiting discovery. ( Id., Ex. B.)
In response, Defendants Keldgord, Harrington, and Flynn state that although they deny any discovery violation, they did not receive any documents in response to the subpoena and they have withdrawn it in light of Plaintiff's motion. Defendant Schaefer argues that Plaintiff lacks standing to quash the subpoena in the absence of a privilege claim and she denies any discovery violation, but she withdrew the subpoena and will refrain from reviewing the records that were produced. Defendant Lopez argues that there is nothing to quash because she did not issue a subpoena, Plaintiff lacks standing to move to quash, she did not engage in any formal discovery, and Plaintiff voluntarily signed the medical records release which led to her receipt of his records.
In reply, Plaintiff disputes his lack of standing to bring a motion to quash and he asserts that Defendants engaged in discovery in violation of the Court's order, which did not distinguish between formal and informal discovery.
B. First Informational Order
Plaintiff contends that Defendants violated one of the provisions in an informational order.
District courts are vested with broad discretion to manage discovery and to control the course of litigation. Hunt v. Cnty. of Orange, 672 F.3d 606, 616 (9th Cir. 2012) (citing Avila v. Willits Envtl. Rehab. Trust, 633 F.3d 828, 834 (9th Cir. 2011)) (quotation marks omitted). The Eastern District of California issues a standard order in civil rights case challenging conditions of confinement filed by prisoners proceeding pro se. The order, entitled First Informational Order in Prisoner Civil Rights Case, is issued at the time the case is opened. The intent underlying the order is to place pro se prisoner litigants on notice of certain rules and procedures, both for their benefit as pro se litigants and to assist the Court with the orderly administration and management of cases. The order notifies litigants that no discovery is to be conducted until the Court issues a discovery and scheduling order, which occurs after the defendants file their answer. The order includes this ...