United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO RESTRICT THE
USE OF PRIVATE HEALTHCARE INFORMATION (DKT. NO. 54) AND
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (DKT NO.
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge.
Salvador Sanchez, who is a Wisconsin state prisoner
representing himself, filed a civil rights complaint alleging
that the defendants violated his constitutional rights while
he was incarcerated at the Waupun Correctional Institution.
Dkt. No. 1. On January 15, 2016, the court screened the
amended complaint, dkt. no. 18, and allowed the plaintiff to
proceed on: (1) an excessive force claim against defendant
Todd Olig based on allegations that he purposely kicked the
plaintiff's cell door which caused serious injury to the
plaintiff's finger; and (2) retaliation claims against
defendant Paul Ludvigson (who issued the plaintiff a conduct
report claiming that he lied about staff after he filed a
grievance against Olig), defendant Olig (who testified at the
disciplinary hearing that he did not kick the plaintiff's
door), and defendant Jeremy Westra (who conducted the hearing
and issued the sanction of additional segregation). Dkt. No.
17 at 10-12. The plaintiff has filed two motions, which the
court will address in this order.
Motion to Restrict the Use of Private Healthcare
plaintiff has filed a motion to restrict the use of private
healthcare information. Dkt. No. 54. He states that on May
12, 2017, he signed an authorization for the disclosure of
his private healthcare information. Id. at 1. When
the plaintiff read and signed the document, he thought that
it authorized the defendants to access his healthcare records
from June 1, 2015 to the present. Id. Since signing
the document, the plaintiff revoked the medical authorization
allowing the defendants to access his records from June 1,
2010 to the present. Id. at 2. The plaintiff asserts
that because the incident at issue in this case occurred on
June 9, 2015, any records prior to June 1, 2015 are
irrelevant and he requests that the court order the
defendants not to use any of those medical records.
defendants filed a response to the motion, in which they
disagree with the plaintiff's contention that his records
prior to June 1, 2015 are irrelevant. Dkt. No. 59. According
to the defendants, the records are relevant because the
plaintiff alleges that the June 9, 2015 incident injured his
right ring finger and that, prior to June 2015, he had three
separate surgeries on that same finger. Id. Also,
the June 9, 2015 incident allegedly exacerbated the
plaintiff's pre-existing anxiety disorder. Id.
The defendants contend that the court should allow them to
explore the plaintiff's past medical history with respect
to his finger pain and anxiety disorder prior to June 2015.
Id. “How long the conditions have existed, how
they have progressed over time, how they were treated in the
past, and what [the plaintiff] reported to his medical
professionals in the years preceding the date at issue in
this lawsuit are relevant to [the plaintiff's] alleged
damages.” Id. The defendants assert that five
years preceding this lawsuit represents a reasonable length
of time to provide them with enough information to evaluate
the plaintiff's medical history as to both liability and
damages issues, as well as striking an appropriate balance
between the defendants' right to explore potential
defenses to the suit with the plaintiff's interests in
his medical privacy. Id.
plaintiff filed a reply in which he acknowledges that he had
three surgeries prior to the incident-two of them taking
place over a decade before the incident, and the third in
2014, while he was incarcerated at the Racine Correctional
Institution. Dkt. No. 61 at 1. The plaintiff concedes that it
is fair for the defendants to receive his healthcare
information from January 1, 2014, through the present,
because that timeframe encompasses all that the defense could
gain, based on what they claim to need, from the
plaintiff's medical records; that it will verify that he
had a diagnosis of generalized panic/anxiety disorder; and
that his symptoms grew after the incident. Id.
According to the plaintiff, there is no need for him to
reveal personal health information from the past five years
because the information the defendants seek is not in those
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[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). The plaintiff concedes the relevance of his medical
records, but he asks that the court limit how far back the
defendants may examine those records. Given that the
plaintiff has had three prior surgeries on his finger and
that the length of time that he has suffered from his anxiety
is not clear, the court finds the defendants' request to
examine the plaintiff's medical records from June 1, 2010
to the present a reasonable one. The court will deny the
plaintiff's motion to restrict access to the records.
Motion to Compel
plaintiff has filed a motion to compel discovery. Dkt. No.
57. He asserts that the defendants gave him an altered or
damaged video in response to his request for production of
documents. Id. at 1. According to the plaintiff, the
video clip of the incident “seemed to momentarily
freeze at the point when defendant Olig was about two feet
from the plaintiff's door, which is the moment the
plaintiff alleged Olig kicked his door [and] the video
resumes only a second - literally a second or two - later,
when Olig is standing at the plaintiff's door.”
Id. The plaintiff asks that the court order the
defendants to produce a copy of the video “as it was
recorded, ” meaning one that does not pause at the
exact moment when Olig allegedly kicked the plaintiff's
cell door. Id. at 2.
defendants responded that the court should deny the
plaintiff's motion to compel because a better quality
video does not exist. Dkt. No. 62. According to the
defendants, while there are a number of times when there is a
bit of delay in movement on the video due to the poor quality
of the recording equipment, the video was not intentionally
altered in any way. Id.
plaintiff contends that the defendants' explanation is
unacceptable. Dkt. No. 64. He asks the court to enter default
judgment for him if the defendants cannot produce a
better-quality, smoother-running recording. Id.
Alternatively, the plaintiff asks that the court bar the
video due to its prejudicial nature. Id.
court has not seen the video. If, at some point in the
future, a party asks the court to admit the video as evidence
in a hearing or at a trial, the court will decide at that
time whether to allow or exclude the video. The court cannot,
however, compel the defendants to provide something that they
do not have. The court will deny the plaintiffs motion to
court DENIES the plaintiffs motion to
restrict the use of private ...