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Victor v. Lawler

June 2, 2010

WILLIAM VICTOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
R.M. LAWLER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

Judge Nealon

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. Statement of Facts and of the Case

This is a civil rights action brought by William Victor, an inmate who was formerly confined in the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon ("SCIHuntingdon"). In his complaint, Victor, who is proceeding pro se, has named an array of defendants, including the prison Superintendent and other employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections at SCI-Huntingdon. Victor alleges that on June 28, 2008 he was assaulted by Corrections Officers while being moved between cells in the Restricted Housing Unit ("RHU") at SCI-Huntingdon. Attachment to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint at ¶ 6. In addition to these assault claims, Victor also alleges that prison staff have engaged in retaliation, harassment, retaliatory misconducts, denial of yard and shower privileges, and destruction of his personal property and legal mail; id. at ¶¶ 2-3, 5, 8, and claims that he was deprived of his due process rights during prison disciplinary proceedings by denying him witnesses in the course of inmate misconduct hearings. Id. at ¶ 4. Victor seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief as a result of these alleged violations of his civil rights.

As a pro se litigant Victor has been diligent and prolific in asserting his right to discovery. Indeed, it appears that Victor has submitted multiple, and sometimes overlapping, requests for information to the corrections defendants on January 10, 2010, as well as on February 23, 24 and 25, 2010. The corrections defendants have been equally diligent in their responses to these requests, disclosing a wide array of information to Victor over time.

Despite this mutual diligence by both parties, Victor has now filed a motion to compel, (Doc. 239), which seeks further disclosures and sanctions against the defendants. In his motion Victor seeks access to a variety of information relating to his case, including medical records, investigative reports, prison policy statements, other documents and tangible objects, photographs, and information concerning the whereabouts of potential witnesses. The defendants, in turn, have responded to these multi-faceted requests in detail, providing answers which fall into the following five categories:

First, with respect to many of Victor's requests, the defendants report that they have provided all responsive materials in their possession to Victor, while pledging to continue on-going efforts to identify and supplement discovery responses.

Second, as to certain categories of material, the defendants assert that a diligent search has been conducted, and the materials sought by Victor cannot be found or do not exist.

Third, with respect to Victor's own medical records, the defendants have stated that they are prepared to provide Victor copies of those records, in accordance with Department of Corrections policies.

Fourth, as to investigative reports, the defendants state that the factual assertions in those reports have been released to Victor, but assert a claim of privilege over any investigative conclusions or recommendations set forth in those reports.

Finally, in two instances the corrections defendants have objected to specific discovery requests propounded by Victor, alleging that Victor's requests are overly broad.

This discovery dispute has been fully briefed by the parties (Docs. 239, 240, 260, and 268), and is now ripe for resolution. While many of the issues raised by Victor in his discovery motion are without merit, and will be denied, we find that Victor may be entitled to some very limited relief. Accordingly, the motion to compel is DENIED in part and GRANTED in part, as set forth below.

II. Discussion

A. Rule 26, the Legal ...


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