United States District Court, E.D. California
BRYAN E. RANSOM, Plaintiff,
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, et al, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL AND TO
EXTEND SCHEDULING ORDER ECF NO. 111
MICHAEL J. SENG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. This matter proceeds on a First Amended Complaint
("FAC") found to state Eighth Amendment medical
indifference claims against Defendants Greaves, Bondoc, Punt,
Madina, Swingle, Neubarth, Corea and Dhah. (ECF Nos. 20, 21,
26.) Plaintiff now moves the Court to compel Defendants to
provide him with a copy of all of his medical records and his
entire prisoner central file ("C-File"). Plaintiff
also seeks a modification of the Court's Discovery and
Scheduling Order. Defendants oppose Plaintiff's motion,
and Plaintiff has not filed a reply. For the reasons set
forth below, Plaintiff's motion will be denied.
motion to compel is premised on his claim that he has been
prevented from accessing his medical records and C-File
through channels available to him. Plaintiff first submitted
a request for these files to Litigation Coordinator M.
Kimbrell, but his request was denied as follows:
"Medical records you have to Rx from UHM at the
hospital. Central File docs are 10 cents per page. Otherwise
you need to go thru the courts in regards to discovery."
See Pl.'s Decl. Ex. A (ECF No. 112). Plaintiff
asserts that he is indigent and thus unable to pay to
photocopy his records. Plaintiff also asserts that he
submitted a request for medical records related to his
chronic Hep-C, tests, diagnosis, treatment, and joint pain,
but received only a small portion of his records back with a
note stating "Here are records between - 2004-2010. I
can't say what is related to Hep C, you'll need to
look thru these." Pl's Decl. Ex. B.
Plaintiff submitted a discovery request for a copy of his
medical records to Defendant Bondoc, who objected on the
grounds that "Defendant is not a CDCR employee and has
no access to Plaintiff's medical records. Plaintiff,
however, may request to see his medical records at the
institution where he is incarcerated." Pl.'s Decl.
then sought relief in this Court by filing a request for a
temporary restraining order / preliminary injunction, which
was denied for lack of jurisdiction and for Plaintiff's
failure to show entitlement to relief. (ECF Nos. 71, 85,
turned to the institution once again for a copy of records.
He submitted a CDCR-22 to his counselor requesting an
"Olsen Review" of his C-File, but he has not yet
received a response. Plaintiff also submitted another request
for "a copy of all medical documents indicating the
names and dates of each doctor and nurse practitioner who
examined, treated, or interviewed [him] at Corcoran [State
Prison] between 7/27/04 to 12/30/10." Pl.'s Decl.
¶ 12, Ex. G. The Medical Records Department denied
Plaintiff's request for lack of specificity since
Plaintiff failed to complete a "file review" form
indicating what type of information he needed (e.g.,
doctor's orders, progress notes, medical records, etc.)
and the dates needed. Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 13, Ex. H. A
"file review" form was provided to Plaintiff with a
handwritten note stating "You need to give me document
type & date - I cannot go thru ea[ch] document and pick out
providers. And keep in mind if you order docs from 2004-2010,
you could COD over $200 - thank you." Id.
Plaintiff sought assistance from defense counsel, who
Plaintiff claims has "unbridled authority to scour
through Plaintiff's medical and C-File without any
restrictions or impediments imposed upon her." Pl.'s
Decl. ¶ 14, Ex. I.
light of his inability to access his records, Plaintiff seeks
a six-month extension of the dates in the Court's
Discovery and Scheduling Order.
first glance, it appears that Plaintiff has exhausted his
efforts to obtain a copy of his medical records and C-File.
However, Defendants' opposition and unopposed evidence
undermine Plaintiff's claims of diligence. For example,
Plaintiff claims that he cannot access his medical records
because he is unable to comply with the "policy"
that he specifically identify each document by name and date.
Defendants counter that an inmate does need not to identify a
specific document with a specific date in order to review it,
but the inmate is required to specify the type of
document sought (e.g., interdisciplinary notes, doctor's
orders, etc.) and a date range. Per Litigation Coordinator J.
Kimbrell, Plaintiff's requests did not meet these
requirements since his search requests were premised on a
specific condition, and "the medical records specialist
will not … research what documents in an inmate's
medical files might relate to a specific type of treatment
for a specific condition." Kimbrell Decl. ¶ 4.
Defendants also submit evidence that, in the past, when
Plaintiff tailored his request to the type(s) of document
within a specific date range, he received related medical
records. See id. Ex. A.
further claims that his indigence and cannot afford the $0.10
per page copy charge. As for his medical records, Litigation
Coordinator Kimbrell's declaration provides that
"[w]hile an inmate's trust account will be charged
ten cents a copy for medical records, an inmate with no money
in his inmate trust account will not be denied copies of
medical records. Instead, a charge will be levied against his
inmate trust account. After thirty days, if the inmate still
has no funds, the charge will drop off the account."
Kimbrell Decl. ¶ 5. Thus, Plaintiff's ability to
access his medical records is not affected by his lack of
the effect of Plaintiff's indigence on his ability to
access the non-confidential records in his C-File,
Plaintiff's motion is premature. Initially, Plaintiff
should have a copy of the documents he seeks since he would
have received them at or near the time they were created.
Kimbrell Decl. ¶ 6. If Plaintiff does not have a copy,
then he is entitled to an Olsen review to view the
records, and he is entitled to one review yearly as a matter
of right. Id. While Plaintiff submits that he filed
an Olsen request, Litigation Coordinator Kimbrell
declares that she was not aware of any such request, and
Plaintiff never filed an appeal regarding the lack of a
response. Id. ¶ 7. In any event, in response to
this motion, Litigation Coordinator Kimbrell has now arranged
for Plaintiff's correctional counselor to provide him
with an Olsen review. Id. If Plaintiff
locates documents in his C-File that are relevant to this
action, he may then request copies of them at a cost ...