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Harcum v. Leblanc

July 15, 2010

DARREN HARCUM
v.
MARCEL LEBLANC



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Elizabeth T. Hey United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

In this action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, pro se Plaintiff Darren Harcum ("Plaintiff") seeks damages against Defendant Marcel LeBlanc ("Defendant") for injuries allegedly sustained on November 16, 2008, in the State Correctional Institution in Graterford, Pennsylvania ("Graterford"), where Plaintiff resided as an inmate and Defendant worked as a corrections officer.*fn1 Presently before the court are Plaintiff's first and second motions to compel discovery (Docs. 41 & 43).*fn2 For the following reasons, Plaintiff's first motion to compel discovery will be denied without prejudice, and Plaintiff's second motion to compel discovery will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. RELEVANT FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff was an inmate at Graterford at the time relevant to his allegations, and he remains so at present. See Amended Complaint ("Doc. 18") at ¶ 1. On December 28, 2009, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint asserting Eighth Amendment violations for excessive force arising from an incident during which Plaintiff reached through a slot of his cell door and grabbed a chair. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant stabbed Plaintiff's arm with keys until he released the chair, and kicked him, and that medical treatment was delayed. See Doc. 18. By Memorandum and Order dated May 6, 2010, I dismissed the excessive force claim as it relates to Defendant's use of keys, as well as Plaintiff's claim for delayed medical treatment.*fn3 See Doc. 36.

Meanwhile, on March 15, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave of court to conduct depositions by written questions, and submitted proposed questions (referred to as "interrogatories") for Officer Robinson, Lieutenant Radle and Officer Singleton. See Doc. 26. Counsel for Defendant did not file a timely response to the motion and informed my chambers that he did not oppose the motion or any of the specific questions Plaintiff had drafted for any of the deponents. I granted Plaintiff's motion by Order dated April 23, 2010. See Doc. 30. Thereafter, counsel for Defendant provided answers from Defendant LeBlanc and Lieutenant Radle, but did not provide answers from Officers Singleton or Robinson. See Exs. attached to Doc. 46.

Separately, on or about April 9, 2010, Plaintiff sent Defendant a first request for production of documents. See Doc. 47 at Ex. 1. On May 7, 2010, Defendant served a response to the first request for production of documents, providing certain responsive documents and objecting to the production of others. See id. at Ex. 2.

On June 11, 2010, Plaintiff filed his first motion to compel discovery, seeking answers to the interrogatories he previously directed at Officers Singleton and Robinson. See Doc. 41. On June 14, 2010, Plaintiff filed his second motion to compel discovery, arguing that Defendant provided insufficient responses to his first request for production of documents. See Doc. 43. Defendant has responded to both motions. See Docs. 45 & 47. Plaintiff filed a reply to the response to the second motion to compel discovery, as well as exhibits consisting of inmate requests to staff at Graterford. See Docs. 48 & 49.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's First Motion to Compel Discovery (Doc. 41)

Plaintiff first seeks to compel Officers Singleton and Robinson to provide answers to the interrogatories previously directed to them. See Doc. 41. Defendant responds that Plaintiff has not complied with various requirements for obtaining the depositions of non-party witnesses. See Doc. 45 at 1-4. However, it is not necessary to address these legal arguments in light of Defendant's representation that Officer Robinson would provide answers to Plaintiff's interrogatories, and that "Officer Singleton" could not be identified. See id. at 4.

By letter dated May 7, 2010, which Defendant attached to his response to Plaintiff's motion, defense counsel notified Plaintiff that Officer Robinson was "finishing [her] answers now" and that the answers would be forwarded "immediately upon their completion." See 05/07/10 letter, attached to Doc. 45 at Ex. 1. Defense counsel informed my chambers on July 15, 2010, that he has since had difficulty contacting Officer Robinson, who is on leave from Graterford, but again represented that Officer Robinson would provide answers to Plaintiff's questions. In light of these representations, I will deny the motion without prejudice as to Officer Robinson.

In the same May 7, 2010, letter, defense counsel stated that "we are unable to identify [Officer Singleton] and would request that you give us a first name or otherwise properly identify this person so we can supply the information you requested." 05/07/10 letter. However, defense counsel informed my chambers on July 15, 2010, that the parties have since identified the correct Officer Singleton, and that the officer will answer Plaintiff's questions. Therefore, the motion will also be denied without prejudice as to Officer Singleton.

B. Plaintiff's Second Motion to Compel Discovery (Doc. 43)

In his second motion to compel discovery, Plaintiff seeks additional documents responsive to his first request for production of documents, specifically records of prior allegations of abuse or assault directed at Defendant, a complete copy of Plaintiff's medical records, and logbooks from the prison unit where the alleged incident occurred. See Doc. ...


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