United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
ROBERTO C. RIVERA, Plaintiff
GOVERNOR ED RENDELL, et al., Defendants
RICHARD CAPUTO United States District Judge
March 5, 2010, Roberto Rivera, an inmate housed at
SCI-Dallas, in Dallas, Pennsylvania, initiated this action
challenging the revocation of his Z Code (single cell
status). On September 21, 2015, the Court resolved
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) Defendants'
motion for summary judgment. See Rivera v. Rendell,
Civ. No. 3:CV-10-0505, 2015 WL 5569067 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 21,
2015). A single claim against a sole defendant remains: Was
Deputy Superintendent Walsh deliberately indifferent to Mr.
Rivera's serious mental health needs in March 2009 when
he failed to assign Plaintiff a Z Code upon releasing him
from the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) to general population?
Mr. Rivera was granted the opportunity to conduct additional
discovery related to Deputy Walsh's reliance on the
opinions of his treating mental health professionals. (ECF
No. 150, pp. 1- 2.)
before the Court are Mr. Rivera's three motions to compel
concerning his discovery posed to Deputy Walsh. (ECF Nos.
198, 200 and 202.) He does not argue that Deputy Walsh failed
to respond to his discovery requests, rather he argues the
responses are evasive and inadequate. (Id.) On
December 22, 2015, Mr. Rivera was ordered to supplement his
discovery motions by identifying each discovery request in
dispute as well as specifying why he believes Deputy
Walsh's responses are evasive and incomplete. (ECF No.
207.) Mr. Rivera filed his supplemental supporting briefs on
January 12, 2016. (ECF Nos. 209 - 211.) Deputy Walsh filed a
singular opposition brief to all three motions. (ECF No.
213.) On March 16, 2016, Mr. Rivera filed a collective reply
brief in support of all three motions. (ECF No. 216.)
reasons that follow, Mr. Rivera's motions to compel will
be granted in part and denied in part.
Standard of Review
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions to
compel discovery. Under Rule 37(a), a party may file a motion
to compel discovery when the opposing party fails to respond
or provides incomplete or evasive answers to properly
propounded document request or interrogatories. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(3)(B)(iii - iv). Pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1), a party “may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
party's claim or defense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).
scope and conduct of discovery are within the sound
discretion of the trial court. In re Cendant Corp. Sec.
Litig., 343 F.3d 658, 661-62 (3d Cir. 2003); see
also McConnell v. Canadian Pacific Realty Co., 280
F.R.D. 188, 192 (M.D. Pa. 2011) (“Rulings regarding the
proper scope of discovery, and the extent to which discovery
may be compelled, are matters consigned to the Court's
discretion and judgment.”).
discretion is guided, however, by certain basic principles.
Thus, at the outset, it is clear that Rule 26's broad
definition of that which can be obtained through discovery
reaches only “non-privileged matter that is relevant to
any party's claim or defense.” Therefore, valid
claims of relevance and privilege restrict the court's
discretion in ruling on discovery issues. Furthermore, the
scope of discovery permitted by Rule 26 embraces all
“relevant information, ” a concept which is
defined in the following terms: “Relevant information
need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears
reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible
evidence.” With these principles in mind, the Court
turns to consider the various discovery requests set forth in
Mr. Rivera's motions to compel.
Mr. Rivera's Motion to Compel Responses to his October
1, 2015, Request for Production of Documents
(ECF No. 198).
directed, Mr. Rivera provided the Court with a copy of his
October 1, 2015, request for production of documents and
Deputy Walsh's response. (ECF No. 209, pp. 9 - 16.)
Mr. Rivera's document requests are similar, or redundant,
they will be addressed together.
Request No. 1: Disciplinary and Personnel Complaints ...