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Brown v. James

February 7, 2007

VICTOR BROWN, PLAINTIFF
v.
THOMAS JAMES, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Background

This pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 was initiated by Victor Brown ("Plaintiff"), an inmate presently confined at the State Correctional Institution, Frackville, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Frackville"). By Order dated May 11, 2004, the claims against Correctional Officers Frank Kinzel and Joseph Purcell were deemed withdrawn and Plaintiff's proposed second amended complaint (Record document no. 40) was accepted.

Named as Defendants in the second amended complaint are Chief Grievance Coordinator Thomas James of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC") and the following SCI-Frackville officials: Superintendent Robert Shannon; ex-Superintendent Joseph Chesney; Deputy Superintendent for Centralized Services John Kerestes; Captain Robert Dusel; Grievance Coordinator James Forr; Personnel Director Jerry Pritchett; Unit Manager Gary Rosato; ex-Captain Ray Boyle; Lieutenants Brian Sheriff, Jesse James, J. Popson, and K. Schauer; Counselor Carl Dudek; Sergeant Dean Harner; Correctional Officers John Kowalchick, Alvin Miller, Shawn Roth, Trevor Hardy, and Brian Cress.*fn1

By Memorandum and Order dated March 17, 2005, a motion to dismiss by the Defendants (with the exception of Unit Mananger Rosato) was partially granted. Specifically, the claims for monetary damages against the moving Defendants in their official capacities were determined to be barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Second, the Plaintiff's claims of: (1) being subjected to verbal abuse on October 25, 2002; (2) improper handling of Grievance No. 28549 by Defendants Schauer, Thomas James, Shannon and Sheriff; and (3) mistreatment by defendant Dudek during April 5-6, 2001 were dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The Memorandum and Order also concluded that Brown's claims regarding the handling of his institutional grievances did not rise to the level of a constitutional violation, as a result, summary judgment was entered in favor of Defendants Thomas James, Shannon, Chesney, Dusel, Forr, Popson, Schauer, and Sheriff.

This Court recently denied Brown's request for leave to submit a supplemental complaint. Presently pending is Plaintiff's third motion to compel discovery.*fn2 See Record document no. 124. Also before the Court is Plaintiff's motion requesting that the Remaining Defendants be sanctioned for failure to cooperate in the discovery process. See Record document no. 129.

In a supporting brief accompanying his motion to compel, Plaintiff generally contends that the Remaining Defendants' responses to his interrogatories, requests for production of documents and admissions "are evasive and incomplete." Record document no. 125, p. 2. Brown's brief further maintains that the discovery requests at issue are relevant to his surviving claims.

Attached to the supporting brief is a 300 page submission consisting of the Defendants' responses and Plaintiff's resulting requests to compel responses to the following discovery requests: (1) First Request for Production of Documents; (2) Second Request for Production of Documents; (3) First and Second sets of Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions directed to Defendant Rosato; (4) First and Second sets of Interrogatories and Request for Admissions directed to Defendant Miller; (5) First and Second sets of Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions directed to Defendant Kerestes; (6) Second set of Interrogatories to Defendant Roth; (7) First and Second sets of Interrogatories and Request for Admissions directed to Defendant Kowalchick; (8) First and Second sets of Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions directed to Defendant Cress; (9) First and Second sets of Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions to Defendant Pritchett; (10) First and Second sets of Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions directed to Defendant Harner; (11) First and Second sets of Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions directed to Defendant Hardy; (12) First and Second sets of Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions directed to Defendant James; and (13) Second Sets of Interrogatories and Requests for Admissions directed to Defendant Boyle.

Defendants' fifty (50) page opposing brief states that they have responded to seventy (70) sets of written discovery requests. The Remaining Defendants acknowledge that their responses contain numerous objections which they assert were legitimate. They add that several objections occurred in instances where the Plaintiff exceeded the number of discovery requests permissible under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Discussion

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 provides in relevant part as follows:

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter. The information sought need not be admissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

The frequency or extent of use of the discovery methods . . . shall be limited by the court if it determines that:

(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or is obtainable from some other source that is more convenient, ...


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