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Dawn Ball v. Dr. Famiglio

October 7, 2011

DAWN BALL,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DR. FAMIGLIO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

(Chief Judge Kane)

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. Statement of Facts and of the Case

This case is a civil rights action filed by Dawn Ball, a state prisoner, who alleges that her constitutional rights were violated in connection with medical and dental care that she received in 2007 while housed at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Muncy. Presently before the court a two potentially dispositive motions for summary judgment which have been filed by the defendants. (Docs. 177 and 182.) The plaintiff has not yet responded to these motions, and has requested an extension of time in which to respond to these motions. (Doc. 194.)

Also pending before the court are a series of discovery motions filed by the plaintiff. (Docs. 130, 147, 170, 171, 194 and 196.) In some instances these discovery motions have been fully briefed by the parties. (Docs. 136, 142, 155.) In other instances, Ball has violated Local Rule 7.5 by failing to file briefs in support of these discovery motions. (Docs. 170, 171, 194.)

On October 4, 2011, this matter was referred to the undersigned for pre-trial management. (Doc. 198.) Upon our review of these outstanding motions, for the reasons set forth below, in the exercise of our discretion over these discovery matters, we will deny the various discovery motions filed by Ball, without prejudice to renewal of these motions, if necessary, once the court has addressed the merits of the potentially dispositive pre-trial motions that are currently pending in this case. We will also set a schedule for the prompt resolution of these potentially dispositive motions.

II. Discussion

A. Guiding Principles Governing Discovery Motions Practice

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 Procedure, which provides as follows:

(1) Scope in General. Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense -- including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons who know of any discoverable matter. For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears reasonably ...


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