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Ravenwood-Alexander v. Beahm

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

January 18, 2018

SHAUN-THORSKRIEGER RAVENWOOD-ALEXANDER, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH D. BEAHM, SEAN M. BRYAN, RANDALL S. BOUZEK, GABRIEL UMENTUM, TODD R. OLIG, JESSIE J. SCHNEIDER, ANN M. SLINGER, AND KELSEY BESTE, Defendants.

         ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (DKT. NO. 30); SETTING DEADLINES FOR THE PARTIES TO FILE INFORMATION REGARDING WHETHER THE COURT SHOULD REQUIRE THE DEFENDANTS TO PAY REASONABLE FEES AND COSTS RELATING TO THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TELEPHONE CONFERENCE (DKT. NO. 36); GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ORDER SETTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT DEADLINES AND RESOLVING REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS (DKT. NO. 37); DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION OF SECURITY CAMERA FOOTAGE (DKT. NO. 38); AND SETTING DISPOSITIVE MOTION DEADLINE OF FEBRUARY 21, 2018

          HON. PAMELA, PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, a Wisconsin prisoner representing himself, filed a motion to compel discovery on August 10, 2017. Dkt. No. 30. On August 14, 2017, the court directed the defendants to respond to the motion, and stayed the dispositive motion deadline. Dkt. No. 33. The motion to compel now is fully briefed. Since then, the plaintiff also has filed a motion for telephone conference, dkt. no. 36; a motion for order setting summary judgment deadlines and resolving request for sanctions, dkt. no. 37; and another motion to compel discovery, dkt. no. 38.

         1. August 10, 2017, Motion to Compel Discovery

         In his motion to compel discovery, the plaintiff asked the court (1) to order the defendants to provide him with his health services, psychological services, and other medical files; (2) to deem his request for admission #10 as admitted; and (3) to award the plaintiff costs and fees. Dkt. No. 30. In response, counsel for the defendants avers that on August 31, 2017, she sent the plaintiff certified copies of his health services and psychological services records from January 2015 through June 21, 2017. Dkt. No. 34 at ¶ 2. The plaintiff acknowledges that his motion to compel the production of his medical files is now moot. Dkt. No. 35 at 1.

         With regard to Request for Admission #10, the plaintiff contends that the court should deem that request admitted, because the defendants failed to respond to the request in a timely manner. Dkt. No. 31 at 4. According to the plaintiff, although the defendants timely responded to his first set of requests for admissions, they did not admit, deny or object to Request for Admission #10. Id.

         Request for Admission #10, and the defendants' response, states:

10. On May 24, 2015, Defendants were aware that Plaintiff had sustained physical injuries as a result of the use of physical force.
RESPONSE: The Defendants are unable to admit or deny this request because the Plaintiff has not returned the signed authorization and informed consent for use and disclosure of medical information that was sent to him on March 2, 2017. Because the Defendants cannot access Plaintiff's medical information, they are unable to admit or deny this request.

Dkt. No. 32-1 at 15-16. The plaintiff states that, contrary to the defendants' response to Request for Admission #10, he did sign and return the consent form to allow the defendants to access his medical records. Dkt. No. 31 at 4. The plaintiff also argues that the defendants did not need to reference his medical records to either admit or deny the request, because they would have known whether or not they were aware of his physical injuries without looking in the plaintiff's medical files. Id.

         The defendants filed a declaration in response to the motion to compel. Dkt. No. 34. In the declaration, counsel for defendants avers that on August 31, 2017, she sent the plaintiff the defendants' supplemental response to his first set of requests for admissions, in which they denied Request for Admission #10. Dkt. No. 34 ¶ 3.

         In his reply, the plaintiff reiterates his contention that the defendants' initial response to Request for Admission #10 was flawed. Dkt. No. 35 at 2. The plaintiff asserts that, even if the court accepts the defendants' initial response as reasonable, the court still should deem Request for Admission #10 admitted, because the defendants' supplemental response was untimely. Id. The plaintiff states that, assuming for the sake of argument that the defendants needed the plaintiff's medical files to supplement their response to Request for Admission #10, they failed to do so in a timely manner, in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(e)(1)(A). Dkt. No. 35 at 2. The plaintiff explains that the defendants received his medical records on June 21, 2017, but did not serve a response on the plaintiff until August 31, 2017. Id.

         “A matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after being served, the party to whom the request is directed serves on the requesting party a written answer or objection addressed to the matter and signed by the party or its attorney.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(3). In his reply, the plaintiff appears to concede that the defendants did not have access to his medical records when they initially responded. Dkt. No. 35 at 2. The court finds it reasonable that the defendants would want to review the records before responding, given that Request for Admission #10 relates to the plaintiff's physical injuries. These defendants see many inmates and many situations day after day; without reviewing medical records, they may not be able to remember what they knew, and when they knew it, about a particular inmate. The plaintiff has not established a basis for the court to deem Request for Admission #10 admitted under Rule 36(a)(3), because the defendants timely responded to the initial request. The plaintiff has also not established a basis for the court to deem Request for Admission #10 admitted under Rule 26(e)(1)(A), because that rule does not provide for admission of a request.

         Finally, the plaintiff contends that the court should impose sanctions and/or award expenses under Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A), due to the defendants' failure to supplement their response to Request for Admission #10 and to produce his medical records until after he filed his motion to compel. Dkt. No. 35 at 3. The defendants sent the plaintiff his medical records and they supplemented their response ...


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