Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

William Victor v. R.M. Lawler

August 26, 2011

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 prison staff as defendants, and has alleged 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. Victor's jaw was allegedly broken in this assault, requiring medical treatment outside the prison.

One of the defendants named in this complaint is William Diffin. On June 28, 2008, Diffin was a lieutenant at SCI Huntingdon, and was in command of the cell extraction team that is alleged to have broken Victor's jaw while removing him from his cell in the Restricted Housing Unit. As to Defendant Diffin, there are clear, and clearly unresolved, factual questions concerning Diffin's role in this cell extraction and how that role may have contributed to the broken jaw which was undeniably suffered by Victor on or about June 28, 2008. There are also other, presently unresolved and material factual questions concerning the activities of defendant Diffin in connection with this cell extraction. Evidence of record in this case, including summary judgment submissions by other defendants, indicates that on the day of Victor's cell extraction Diffin may have attempted to stage the scene of the cell extraction, and create a false account of events leading up to the cell extraction. In particular, it is alleged that Diffin may have caused a noose to be planted in Victor's cell, in an apparent effort to falsely suggest both that there was an exigency to the cell extraction and that Victor may have harmed himself on June 28, 2008.

Furthermore, it is apparent that the Commonwealth itself has found that there are substantial, unresolved factual questions relating to Diffin's conduct in connection with this cell extraction since Diffin was disciplined for his role in this matter, and the State has withdrawn from representing Diffin in this civil lawsuit, citing its finding of bad faith deliberate misconduct on his part. (Doc. 113 and 114)

The current motion before the Court focuses on the conduct of defendant Diffin. Victor has now filed a motion, styled motion for relief, (Doc. 378), which is in essence a motion to compel discovery. This motion, in its only contested aspect,*fn1 seeks disclosure of a document whose existence has already been disclosed to Victor, a polygraph examination of defendant Diffin, performed by the Department of Corrections in the course of administrative proceedings relating to this defendant. This report allegedly indicated deception on Diffin's part when responding to questions regarding this June 2008 episode. With respect to this specific polygraph examination report, curiously, defendant Diffin has filed no response opposing the release of this report. The other corrections defendants have, however, opposed the release of this polygraph report, arguing that it is both irrelevant and privileged. (Doc. 379) This matter is fully briefed and ripe for resolution.

In the unique facts of this case, we find that the report may fall within the broad ambit of relevant evidence, since it may lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Therefore, we will grant this motion.

II. Discussion

Several basic guiding principles inform our resolution of the instant discovery dispute. At the outset, Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions to compel discovery, and provides that:

(a) Motion for an Order Compelling Disclosure or Discovery

(1) In General. On notice to other parties and all affected persons, a party may move for an order compelling disclosure or discovery. . ..

Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a).

The scope of what type of discovery may be compelled under Rule 37 is defined, in turn, by Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.