United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are several discovery-related motions and documents
filed by the parties in this matter. (Doc. Nos. 107, 108,
109, 111, 113, 115, 119, 121.) The motions have been fully
briefed and are ripe for disposition. The Court will grant
pro se Plaintiff Mark-Alonzo Williams
(“Williams”)' motion for leave to file a
brief in support (Doc. No. 113) and motion to clarify (Doc.
No. 121), as well as Defendants' motion for an extension
of time to file a response (Doc. No. 119) and will deem
Defendants' brief in opposition (Doc. No. 122) timely
filed. For the reasons set forth below, Williams' motions
for court sanctions and fines (Doc. Nos. 111, 115) will be
denied. His remaining motions and requests for relief (Doc.
Nos. 107, 108, 109) will be granted in part and denied in
is proceeding on an amended complaint filed pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his First, Eighth,
and Fourteenth Amendment rights.(Doc. No. 52.) He alleges
that after he was sexually assaulted by another inmate while
incarcerated at SCI Dallas, staff there, along with Secretary
John Wetzel, attempted to cover up the assault by denying him
medical treatment, failing to interview him, and initiating a
series of retaliatory transfers. (Id.) Williams also
maintains that he was denied equal protection because he, as
a homosexual inmate, was not afforded the same protections as
heterosexual inmates. (Id.)
Order entered on May 24, 2018, the Court directed that all
discovery be completed by November 23, 2018 and that all
dispositive motions be filed on or before December 24, 2018.
(Doc. No. 82.) On December 10, 2018, Williams filed a motion
to compel discovery (Doc. No. 93), to which Defendants filed
a brief in opposition (Doc. No. 95). Defendants also filed a
motion to stay the dispositive motions deadline given
Williams' motion to compel. (Doc. No. 96.) On January 15,
2019, the Court granted the motion to stay the dispositive
motions deadline. (Doc. No. 98.)
Memorandum Order entered on March 14, 2019, Magistrate Judge
Carlson granted in part and denied in part Williams'
motion to compel. (Doc. No. 104.) Specifically, Magistrate
Judge Carlson denied the motion as to Williams' requests
for documents regarding information about other inmates, his
requests for medical records, video footage, and transfer
documents that Defendants attested did not exist, and his
requests for copies of policies regarding inmate transfers
and staff retaliation given Defendants' assertion that
those policies were available in the law library for Williams
to review. (Id.) However, Magistrate Judge Carlson
granted the motion as to Williams' requests for copies of
the “death threat” received from his attacker as
well as the “block notes” concerning his assaults
and directed Defendants to provide such documents on or
before April 15, 2018. (Id.) Defendants were also
directed to produce answers to Williams' interrogatories
on or before that date. (Id.) Finally, he denied the
motion to the extent Williams sought to compel Defendants to
produce documents not requested in his initial request for
production of documents. (Id.)
subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration (Doc. No.
105), arguing that Defendants committed fraud by providing in
discovery what he believed is a fraudulent letter from
Defendant Demming. By Order entered on May 29, 2019, the
Court denied Williams' motion, noting that he had not
demonstrated that the alleged fraud established manifest
injustice. (Doc. No. 117.)
discovery motions contain several requests, many of which are
raised in more than one document. The Court considers each
request and concern in turn below.
Request Regarding Legal Mail
motion, Williams appears to request that the Court direct
counsel for Defendants to fax discovery documents to his unit
manager to be provided to him instead of mailing them to the
Smart Communications screening center in Florida. (Doc. No.
109.) Under current Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) policy, however, counsel for Defendants
must send all documents to Williams via this service.
Accordingly, this request will be denied.
well-established that rulings concerning the proper scope of
discovery and the extent to which discovery may be compelled
are within the court's discretion. See Wisniewski v.
Johns-Manville Corp., 812 F.2d 81, 90 (3d Cir. 1987).
The court's decision regarding the conduct of discovery,
including whether to compel disclosure, will only be
disturbed on a showing of an abuse of discretion. See
Marroquin-Manriquez v. I.N.S., 699 F.2d 129, 134 (3d
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) provides that a party
“may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Rule 26(b)(1) provides for a broad
scope of discovery. As a consequence, courts often - and
appropriately - apply liberal treatment to discovery rules.
See, e.g., Clements v. N.Y. Cent. Mut. Fire Ins.
Co., 300 F.R.D. 225, 226 (M.D. Pa. 2014) (citing
Great W. Life Assurance Co. v. Levithan, 152 F.R.D.
494, 497 (E.D. Pa. 1994)). Nonetheless, a “valid
claim of relevance or ...