United States District Court, E.D. California
JAMES JOSHUA MAYFIELD, JAMES ALLISON MAYFIELD, JR., and TERRI MAYFIELD, Plaintiffs,
IVAN OROZCO, SHERIFF SCOTT JONES, JAMES LEWIS, RICK PATTISON, COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DAVIS HEALTH SYSTEM, DR. GREGORY SOKOLOV, DR. ROBERT HALES, and Does 1-5, Defendants.
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTEIATE JUDGE
move to compel further discovery responses from the
University of California Davis Health System and related
defendants (collectively “UCD”). The motion, ECF
No. 100, came on for hearing on June 29, 2016. Lori Rifkin
appeared for plaintiffs, and Robert F. Tyler appeared for
UCD. For the reasons set forth below, the court will grant
the motion in part and deny it in part.
James Joshua Mayfield (“Joshua Mayfield”)
attempted suicide in the Sacramento County Jail, where he was
a pre-trial detainee, and survived with quadriplegia and
cognitive impairments. He and his wife and son sue the County
and various jail correctional staff, and UCD Health Services
and related jail psychiatric staff, on grounds including
failure to protect and failure to provide medical care.
the Pretrial Scheduling Order now in place, ECF No. 41,
discovery closes on October 14, 2016.
seek to compel further responses to their First and Third
Sets of Requests for Production of Documents and First and
Third Sets of Interrogatories. Additionally, plaintiffs seek
(1) a more detailed privilege log; (2) production of all
responsive documents whether “indigenous” or not;
(3) production of documents for the entire temporal period
requested; (4) clarification as to the categorical identify
of documents withheld as “inapplicable”; and (5)
augmented, complete answers to interrogatories and production
of related documents withheld by UCD on HIPAA grounds. ECF
Nos. 100, 107 at 9.
scope of discovery under the Federal Rules is broad.
Discovery may be obtained as to “any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action . . . and
whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery
outweighs its likely benefit.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
(“Rule”) 26(b)(1). “Information within this
scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be
discoverable.” Id. “Evidence is relevant
if: (a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less
probable than it would be without the evidence; and (b) the
fact is of consequence in determining the action.”
party fails to answer an interrogatory submitted under Rule
33, or fails to produce documents requested under Rule 34,
the party seeking discovery may move for compelled
disclosure. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37. “The party seeking to
compel discovery has the burden of establishing that its
request satisfies the relevancy requirements of Rule
26(b)(1). The party opposing discovery then has the burden of
showing that the discovery should be prohibited, and the
burden of clarifying, explaining or supporting its
objections.” See Bryant v. Ochoa, 2009 WL
1390794 at * 1, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42339 at *3 (S.D. Cal.
2009). The party opposing discovery is “required to
carry a heavy burden of showing” why discovery should
be denied. Blankenship v. Hearst Corp., 519 F.2d
418, 429 (9th Cir.1975).
are to be “strictly construed” because they
“impede full and free discovery of the truth.”
Eureka Financial Corp. v. Hartford Acc. and Indemnity
Co., 136 F.R.D. 179, 183 (E.D. Cal. 1991). The Supreme
Court has long noted that privileges are disfavored.
Jaffee v. Redmond, 518 U.S. 1, 9 (1996). “The
party asserting an evidentiary privilege has the burden to
demonstrate that the privilege applies to the information in
question.” Tornay v. United States, 840 F.2d
1424, 1426 (9th Cir. 1988).
as here, a case presents federal claims and pendent state law
claims, the federal law of privilege applies. Agster v.
Maricopa Cty., 422 F.3d 836, 839 (9th Cir. 2005). When a
party withholds otherwise discoverable information by
claiming that it is privileged, the party must make the claim
expressly and describe the nature of the documents,
communications, or things not produced or disclosed in a
manner that, without revealing information itself privileged
or protected, will enable other parties to assess the
applicability of the privilege. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(5).
Generalized or boiler-plate assertions of privilege are
inadequate. Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. U.S.
Dist. Court for Dist. of Mont., 408 F.3d 1142, 1147 (9th
Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 546 U.S. 939 (2005).
15, 2016, defendants belatedly produced a privilege log in
relation to the discovery requests at issue. Defendants
asserted HIPAA protections and state confidentiality law as
to inmate medical information; California Evidence Code
§§ 1156-1157 as to minutes of Quality Improvement
Committee meetings; and attorney/client privilege as to
HIPAA and Medical ...