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 two identical motions
to compel concerning Deputy Walsh's failure to supplement
his response to document request number 2. (ECF Nos. 231 and
234.) Deputy Walsh opposes both motions noting his timely
service of the supplemental discovery response. (ECF No.
238.) In his Reply brief, Mr. Rivera notes that while he
received the supplemental response, he is dissatisfied with
the information produced. (ECF No. 239.)
reasons that follow, Mr. Rivera's motions to compel will
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
these principles in mind, the Court turns to consider the
various discovery requests set forth in Mr. Rivera's
motions to compel.
Rivera's motion to compel Deputy Walsh's supplemental
response to his request for production of documents No. 2
will be denied. First, Defendant Walsh has provided the Court
with a copy of his May 23, 2017 Certificate of Service
accompanying his supplemental response. (ECF No. 238, p. 7.)
Second, as evidenced by Mr. Rivera's expressed
dissatisfaction with Deputy Walsh's supplemental
response, he has received them. (ECF No. 239.)
extent that Mr. Rivera argues that Deputy Walsh's
response that “he did not review Plaintiff's mental
health records” is “inadequate, ” (ECF No.
239) that alone is not a basis for granting his motion to
compel. The discovery request sought to learn what mental
health records Deputy Walsh reviewed or relied upon when
making his March 2009 decision to revoke Plaintliff's Z
Code housing classification. Previously Deputy Walsh
identified several documents he relied upon in making that
decision. After Mr. Rivera moved to compel a more definite
response, Deputy Walsh was directed to identify whether he
relied on other documents, including portions of Mr.
Rivera's mental health records, when making his March
2009 PRC recommendation. (ECF Nos. 221 - 222.) The fact that
Deputy Walsh states in his supplemental response that he did
not review Plaintiff's mental health records does ...