United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
F. SAPORITO, JR. JUDGE
a counseled prisoner civil rights action which comes before
the court on motions by the plaintiff to compel discovery
(Doc. 69), and a motion for attorney's fees and costs.
(Doc. 71). In the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he
was a pre-trial detainee in the Lackawanna County Prison who
was deprived of necessary medical treatment. He is currently
an inmate at the state correctional institute at Graterford
Statement of Facts
facts pertinent to these motions include the plaintiff's
allegations in the complaint (Doc. 1) that the individual
medical defendants failed to provide the necessary medical
treatment and/or adequate treatment for plaintiff's
serious mental and physical health needs, despite having been
informed by plaintiff of his needs and knowing that serious
injury would result. In addition, it is alleged that the
individual medical defendants completely abandoned any
medical care to the plaintiff from May 28, 2015, through June
9, 2015. Also, the plaintiff has alleged that while he was
incarcerated at the Lackawanna County Prison, the individual
medical defendants who were under the control and employment
of defendant Correctional Care, Inc. (“C.C.I.”)
were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in that
they ignored the plaintiff's repeated requests for help,
food, and water. The complaint further alleged that the
defendants ignored some signs that the plaintiff was
suffering from kidney failure, and that he was near death.
The plaintiff asserted that the defendants failed to treat
the plaintiff's mental health illness which caused the
plaintiff's refusal to eat or drink.
plaintiff alleged that C.C.I. was first awarded a contract as
the sole medical care provider for Lackawanna County Prison
in 2004 after a bidding process in 2003. The contract was
renewed several times by Lackawanna County. The plaintiff
maintains that his injuries were directly attributable to
C.C.I.'s prioritization of profits and cost-cutting over
patients and its failure to adequately treat the plaintiff
during his stay in the Lackawanna County Prison.
motion for attorney's fees and costs (Doc. 71), the
plaintiff seeks the recovery of fees and costs for obtaining
service and compelling discovery. In his brief, the plaintiff
argues that the defendants willfully refused to provide
discovery. (Doc. 73, at 2). Also, the plaintiff asserts that
the defendants have a history of vexatious and obdurate
behavior regarding their refusal to accept service on behalf
of C.C.I.'s nurses. In a telephone conference with the
court and counsel on November 6, 2017, plaintiff's
counsel stated he would advise the court whether service had
been effected and whether his motion to compel service and
impose sanctions (Doc. 50) can be withdrawn.
letter of November 13, 2017, counsel for the plaintiff
informed the court that the motion for service and sanctions
was withdrawn without prejudice. (Doc. 54). Based upon that
correspondence, we deemed the motion withdrawn without
prejudice. (Doc. 55). The docket reflects that shortly
thereafter, service was made upon those defendants which were
the subject of the motion for service.
(Doc. 56; Doc. 57; Doc. 58).
January 31, 2018, we conducted a telephone conference with
counsel in an effort to resolve a discovery dispute. The
dispute centered around the plaintiff's request for
production of documents addressed to the defendants, C.C.I.
and Dr. Edward Zaloga, First Set (Doc. 70-1) and the
objections thereto (Doc. 70-1; Doc. 70-2). We resolved most
of the objections during the conference. The three unresolved
objections during the telephone conference were Request for
Production of Documents Nos. 3, 7, and 11, and any other
request(s) seeking financial information of either defendant.
We permitted the plaintiff to file an appropriate motion to
compel with respect to the unresolved objections. (Doc. 67).
Before us only are Request Nos. 3 and 7 and the objections
thereto. We shall deem Request No. 11 withdrawn. As explained
below, the plaintiff's motion to compel will be granted
in part and denied in part, and his motion for attorney's
fees and costs will be denied.
Motion to Compel Discovery
Federal Courts have broad discretion to manage discovery,
Sempier v. Johnson & Higgins, 45 F.3d 724, 734
(3d Cir. 1995), and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have
long permitted broad and liberal discovery. Pacitti v.
Macy's, 193 F.3d 766, 777 (3d Cir. 1999). Pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1), parties may obtain discovery
regarding “any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to
any party's claim or defense and proportional to the
needs of the case. . . . Information within this scope of
discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be
discoverable.” Further, the Federal Rules'
relevancy requirement is to be construed broadly, and
material is relevant if it bears on, or reasonably could bear
on, an issue that is or may be involved in the litigation.
Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 350
Motion for ...