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Johnson v. Tritt

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 24, 2019

RAHEEM JOHNSON, Plaintiff
v.
DEPUTY TRITT, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          SYLVIA H. RAMBO, United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court pursuant to the motion to compel discovery (Doc. No. 26) filed by pro se Plaintiff Raheem Johnson (“Johnson”). After receiving an extension of time (Doc. Nos. 38, 39), Defendants filed their response to the motion on May 30, 2019 (Doc. No. 40). Johnson has neither filed a reply brief nor moved for an extension of time to do so. Accordingly, the motion to compel discovery is ripe for disposition.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Johnson, who is presently confined at the State Correctional Institution in Chester, Pennsylvania (“SCI Chester”), initiated this action in January of 2018 by filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. Nos. 1, 5.) In his complaint, Johnson alleges that while he was confined at SCI Frackville and SCI Mahanoy, Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment, as well as his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), by failing to provide handicap-accessible showers, pain medication, and a referral to a patella specialist. (Doc. No. 5.) By Order entered on January 26, 2018, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania transferred the matter to this Court. (Doc. No. 3.)

         Defendants Bowser, Brittian, Delbaso, Dowd, Holly, Moore, Mros, Tritt, Wetzel, and the Department of Corrections (“DOC”)[1] filed their answer to Johnson's complaint on July 9, 2018. (Doc. No. 20.) Johnson filed his motion to compel on December 20, 2018. (Doc. No. 26.) By Order entered on January 15, 2019, the Court granted Defendants' motion to depose Johnson (Doc. No. 29) and directed that discovery be completed on or before March 15, 2019 and that dispositive motions be filed by April 15, 2019 (Doc. No. 29).

         On April 12, 2019, Defendants filed a motion to reopen discovery and extend the deadline for dispositive motions, noting that they had been unable to depose Johnson prior to the close of discovery. (Doc. No. 33.) That same day, the Court received a letter from Johnson, asking the Court to rule on his motion to compel. (Doc. No. 34.) By Order entered on May 1, 2019, the Court directed Defendants to respond to Johnson's motion to compel, granted Defendants' motion to reopen discovery and extend the dispositive motions deadline, directed the parties to complete discovery within sixty (60) days, and directed them to file any dispositive motions within ninety (90) days. (Doc. No. 37.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         Central to Johnson's motion to compel are two (2) requests for documents dated May 11, 2018.[2] Those requests and Defendants' responses are:

1. A copy of the Plaintiff's medical record, while in custody
Response: OBJECTION. Responding Defendants OBJECT to this request in that it is overbroad and unduly burdensome as to the time frame requested.
Responding Defendants further OBJECT to this request in that it seeks irrelevant information and information not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence because not all of Plaintiff's medical records are relevant to the claims against the Defendants. In addition, Plaintiff may not review his mental health records, as they are confidential and privileged.
Without waiver of objection, Plaintiff may schedule an appointment to review his relevant medical records by submitting a Department Form DC-135A “Inmate Request to Staff” to the Superintendent's Assistant at SCI-Camp Hill. Plaintiff will be given a reasonable amount of time to examine and inspect the aforementioned documents. Plaintiff will have the option to obtain copies of the documents at his expense; however,
4. Any and all video footage that plaintiff requested in grievances to be held as part of the evidence in regards to any and all grievances filed for medical reasons.
Response: OBJECTION. Responding Defendants OBJECT to this Request to the extent it assumes facts not in evidence. Responding Defendants further OBJECT to the extent this Request is vague, overbroad and ambiguous in that Plaintiff does not specify what ...

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