United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. Carlson United States Magistrate Judge
Statement of Facts and of the Case
a pro se state prisoner civil rights lawsuit. One of
the surviving claims in this case is an Eighth Amendment
conditions of confinement claim brought by Rosa-Diaz who
alleges that in March and April of 2017, while he was a state
prisoner housed at the State Correctional Institution (SCI)
Camp Hill, he was housed in a cell where “there were
human feces inside the air conditioner and exhaust
ventilations [in his new cell]; . . . the plumbing for the
hot water did not work and plaintiff did not had [sic] access
to hot water; . . . the exhaust air ventilation was broken
and inoperative and; . . . the cell smelled of urine and
feces.” (Doc. 12-1, ¶ 36.)
the issues in this litigation framed in this fashion,
Rosa-Diaz has filed a second motion to compel production of
certain information from the defendants. (Doc. 77.) In this
motion, Rosa-Diaz follows up on prior requests for production
of videos or documents relating to a June 2017 incident
involving another inmate, Eric Maple, who allegedly refused
at that time to enter the cell formerly occupied by Rosa-Diaz
because of the lingering presence of human waste in the cell.
previously found on December 4, 2018, that this information
relating to other complaints about the conditions in this
cell, made shortly after Rosa-Diaz vacated the cell, was
potentially relevant to the issues raised in this lawsuit.
Accordingly, we entered an order directing the defendants to
notify Rosa-Diaz if any prison records or videos reveal that
inmate Eric Maple complained about the condition of the cell
formerly occupied by Rosa-Diaz shortly after Rosa-Diaz
vacated that cell in the spring and summer of 2017. (Doc.
49.) Inmate Maple was later deposed and apparently
corroborated the fact that he refused to enter the cell
vacated by Rosa-Diaz because it was fouled by human waste.
Thus, Maple has provided relevant information that
corroborated Rosa-Diaz’s claims regarding the condition
of this cell.
against this backdrop that Rosa-Diaz filed in instant motion
to compel, seeking discovery of prison videos or grievances
involving inmate Maple which would further corroborate
Maple’s statements concerning his complaints regarding
the condition of this cell in June of 2017. (Doc. 77.) The
defendants have responded to this motion by arguing that
Maple’s testimony confirming his complaints regarding
the condition of the cell fulfilled their discovery
obligations under our December 2018 order. While we
understand the defendants’ potential confusion in this
regard, for the reasons set forth below we believe that
Rosa-Diaz is entitled to the additional information he seeks.
Therefore, this motion to compel will be granted.
basic guiding principles inform our resolution of the instant
discovery dispute. At the outset, Rule 37 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions to compel discovery,
and provides that:
(a) Motion for an Order Compelling Disclosure or Discovery
(1) In General. On notice to other parties and all affected
persons, a party may move for an order compelling disclosure
or discovery. . . .
Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a).
general scope of discovery is defined by Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) in the following terms:
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, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its ...