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Whetstone v. Bohinski

March 4, 2010

DWIGHT WHETSTONE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STANLEY BOHINSKI, D.O., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Carlson

Judge Kosik

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. Statement of Facts and of the Case

This is a civil rights action brought by Dwight Whetstone, a state inmate. In his complaint, Whetstone, who is proceeding pro se, has named a number of medical staff and health care providers as Defendants, alleging that these staff violated his constitutional rights when they demonstrated deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs following a December 31, 2006 weight lifting injury suffered by Whetstone in the prison.

This matter now comes before the Court on a Motion to Compel filed by Whetstone which seeks further discovery responses from the remaining Defendants in this case.*fn1 (Doc. 58.) This motion has been fully briefed by the parties, (Docs. 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, and 65), a process which has helped to clarify the nature of this ongoing discovery dispute.

As described by the parties, the disputed discovery issues fall into the following four general categories:

First, Whetstone seeks access to his own medical records relating to the treatment he received arising out of this December 31, 2006 injury. The Defendants do not appear to object to this discovery but believe that Whetstone should follow the existing Department of Corrections procedures when requesting and obtaining these medical records.

Second, Whetstone seeks access to his own psychiatric records, in order to demonstrate that he was not regarded as a malingerer or problematic inmate at the time of this injury. The Defendants have objected, in part, to the release of this information alleging that wholesale release of diagnostic impressions may chill the candor of psychiatric medical staff when conducting inmate assessments.

Third, Whetstone appears to request any information relating to the prison's handling of administrative complaints which he submitted relating to this incident.

Fourth, Whetstone also requests records of other inmate complaints regarding indifference to their medical needs lodged against the Defendants from December 2006 through November 2009. Whetstone seeks this information as part of an effort to determine whether the treatment he received was part of a pattern of conduct by the Defendants. The Defendants have objected to the disclosure of this information arguing that it is not calculated to lead to the discovery of otherwise admissible evidence, and that disclosure of other third-party complaints may violate the personal privacy of those third parties.

For the reasons set forth below, Whetstone's motion will be granted, in part, and denied, in part.

II. Discussion

A. Rule 26, the Legal Standard

Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure defines both the scope and limitations governing the use of ...


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