United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge
Mutschler an inmate presently confined at the Fayette State
Correctional Institution, LaBelle, Pennsylvania (SCI-Fayette)
filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. This matter was initially assigned to the
Honorable Edwin M. Kosik of this Court, now retired.
service of the Complaint, the claims against Secretary John
Wetzel of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections were
voluntarily withdrawn. See Doc. 21. Thereafter, this
matter was referred to the Court's Prisoner Mediation
Program and counsel was appointed to assist the Plaintiff in
the mediation process. Settlement of this case was not
reached through mediation.
Doctor Adrian Harewood subsequently filed a motion for
summary judgment. See Doc. 77. The Commonwealth
Defendants thereafter filed a separate summary judgment
motion. See Doc. 84. By Memorandum and Order of
Judge Kosik dated November 1, 2016, the summary judgment
motions were stayed pending disposition of the
Plaintiff's motion to compel discovery (Doc. 90). This
matter was then reassigned to the undersigned.
addition, to the aforementioned motion to compel, Plaintiff
has filed additional discovery related motions. See
Docs.108 (motion for discovery related sanctions); 109
(request that the Court serve Defendants with a copy of his
motion for sanctions); 110 (amended motion for discovery
sanctions), 112 (motion for discovery related sanctions); and
114(motion seeking entry of default for failure to provide
respect to Plaintiff's discovery related motions, due to
the passage of time and based upon a review of the record it
appears there is a potential that all or some of
Plaintiff's outstanding discovery issues may have been
resolved or are amenable to settlement without court
intervention. Consequently, in an effort to bring about an
orderly disposition of this action, Plaintiff's pending
discovery related motions as well as the Defendants'
previously submitted summary judgment motions will be
dismissed without prejudice. The dismissed dispositive
motions may be renewed following the completion of discovery.
the Court will direct the parties to confer in a good faith
effort to resolve by agreement the discovery issues outlined
by Mutschler within thirty (30) days of the date of this
Order. The parties may confer either in person,
telephonically, or via videoconferencing. Thereafter, within
fourteen (14) days following the parties' conference,
Plaintiff, if he so chooses, may file a
single, properly supported motion to compel
with respect to any and all unresolved discovery disputes.
purposes of said conference, the pro se Plaintiff is
advised in advance that discovery is generally permitted only
of any items that are relevant or may lead to the discovery
of relevant information. Hicks v. Big Bros./Big Sisters
of Am., 168 F.R.D. 528, 529 (E.D. Pa. 1996). Thus,
discovery in this matter would be limited to only those
materials which are relevant to his surviving claims. Second,
the Court will not permit discovery where a request is made
in bad faith, unduly burdensome, irrelevant to the general
subject matter of the action, or relates to confidential or
privileged information pertaining to wither correctional
staff members or other prisoners. S.S. Fretz, Jr., Inc.
v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., No. 90-1731, 1991 WL
21655, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 15, 1991). It is also noted that
the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(6), precludes
production of personnel and medical files and similar files
the disclosure of which would constitute a clear and
unwarranted invasion of privacy.
prisoners have no right to free photocopying for use in
lawsuits. Johnson v. Moore, 948 F.2d 517, 521
(9th Cir. 1991)(“denial of free photocopying
does not amount to a denial of access to the courts”);
Harrell v. Keohane, 621 F.2d 1059 (10th
Cir. 1980); Jenkins v. Porfiro, Civil Action No.
3:CV-95-2048, slip op. at 1 (M.D. Pa. May 15, 1996) (Caputo,
J.). It has also been held that there is no requirement that
the government or a defendant has to pay for an indigent
plaintiff's litigation efforts. Smith v. Yarrow,
78 Fed.Appx. 529, 544 (6th Cir. 2003).
in light of the issuance of this Order, Plaintiff's
motion (Doc. 117) seeking mandamus relief will be denied as
moot. In addition, since all of the Defendants responded to
the Compliant by filing respective summary judgment motions,
Plaintiff's motion (Doc. 120) seeking entry of default
will be denied. A deadline for the submission of new and
renewed dispositive motions will also be established.
NOW, for the reasons set forth herein, IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED that:
Defendants' respective motions for summary judgment
(Docs. 77 & 84) are DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE. Those motions may be renewed following
disposition of the pending discovery dispute.
Plaintiff's discovery related motions (Docs. 90, 108,
109, 110, 112, 114) are D ...