United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
STADTMUELLER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
March 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed an expedited motion under
Civil Local Rule 7(h), seeking to compel responses to certain
of her discovery requests from Armor Correctional Health
Services (“Armor”). (Docket #60). As has been
noted elsewhere, this suit concerns Defendants' alleged
deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical
needs-namely, an instance in March 2014 during which she, as
an inmate at the Milwaukee County Jail (the
“Jail”), gave birth to a child in a cell in the
infirmary without any assistance from Jail personnel or
medical staff employed by Armor. As with the prior Rule 7(h)
motions the Court has recently addressed, it will assume
familiarity with the facts and procedural history of the case
to facilitate expedited consideration of the present motion.
raises four areas of disagreement between the parties
regarding discovery. First, she complains that Armor has not
produced all relevant medical records in its possession
concerning her, including records for periods of
incarceration in 2013 during which she was pregnant with the
child to whom she gave birth in the Jail in March 2014.
(Docket #60 at 2). Armor responds that it did not previously
understand the need for records relating to Plaintiff's
prior periods of incarceration-i.e., that she was
pregnant during those periods-and now that it does, it has
produced the requested records. With nothing left to compel,
the Court will deny Plaintiff's motion on this point.
Plaintiff asserts that Armor must produce job descriptions
for each of its personnel assigned to the Jail during the
relevant period. Id. at 3. Armor claims that the
first it heard of this request was during Plaintiff's
efforts to meet and confer regarding the present discovery
disputes. (Docket #71 at 2). It remains open to responding to
a specific request for “job descriptions” for the
appropriate personnel. Id. at 2 n.5.
Court, however, reads Plaintiff's underlying discovery
request as broad enough to encompass job descriptions. In
that request, Plaintiff asked for “[a]ll documents
reflecting the names, work schedules, work assignment
location, and work duties and responsibilities” of
individuals responsible for administering medical care at the
Jail on March 9-10, 2014. (Docket #60-3 at 5). Whatever form
a “job description” might take, it certainly
falls within the realm of documents that reflect the
“work duties and responsibilities” of Armor
employees. As such, and because Armor does not object to the
request on any other grounds, the Court will grant
Plaintiff's motion in this regard.
Plaintiff asks for an order compelling Armor to produce
additional documents regarding its policies and procedures in
order to support her Monell claim. (Docket #60 at
3-4). Plaintiff has requested policies, training materials,
and the like pertaining to Armor's medical care policies,
including complaints from inmates about their medical care at
the Jail, the evaluations, licensure, or discipline of
healthcare staff, and the procedures for obtaining medical
care at the Jail. Id. In an effort to compromise,
Plaintiff reports that she has limited her request to the
period spanning May 2013 through April 2014. Id. at
explains that it has produced some documents in response to
these requests, including specific policies and procedures
when asked for them. (Docket #71 at 3). Armor objects that to
the extent any additional documents are required, the
requests are overly broad and unduly burdensome, as they
amount to a request for a review of “effectively every
page of nearly every document generated by Armor since it
began providing services at the Milwaukee County Jail [on]
May 11, 2013.” Id. Armor suggests that the
document production should be limited to policies,
procedures, complaints, and discipline regarding pregnancies,
which is the focus of Plaintiff's individual
constitutional claim. Id. at 3-4.
it appreciates that Plaintiff seeks a large body of
documents, the Court remains convinced that any objection to
the scope of her Monell claim is best reserved for a
dispositive motion, which Armor has not filed. See
(Docket #59 at 2-3). If Plaintiff's Monell claim
was confined to issues regarding childbirth at the Jail, her
discovery requests would certainly be overbroad and lack a
proportional relationship to the needs of the case.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1); Patterson v.
Hepp, Case No. 16-CV-942-JPS, 2017 WL 1901573, at *1
(E.D. Wis. May 9, 2017). As it stands, however, her
Monell claim embraces a broader theory that Armor
ignored or totally failed to provide health care to inmates,
including, as one example, the specific instance of
Plaintiff's March 2014 childbirth. Her discovery requests
are, therefore, necessary to fully probe the bases for her
a recent, similar dispute between Plaintiff and the other
Defendants, the Court explained:
Without expressing any view as to the soundness of either
party's interpretation of the Monell claim, in
the context of the present motion the Court is obliged to
side with Plaintiff. Defendants have not sought to dismiss
the claim on the ground that it is overbroad or untethered
from Plaintiff's individual injury. To rule in their
favor here would accomplish precisely that, for without
wide-ranging discovery on the lack of medical care at the
Jail, summary judgment against Plaintiff on her
Monell claim is a foregone conclusion. The scope of
discovery is tied to the state of the pleadings. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) (discovery may be had on any matter
“relevant to any party's claim or defense”).
While Plaintiff's Monell claim remains in its
current form, she is entitled to take discovery as to the
full scope of the claim. The Court is sensitive to what will
likely be an enormous document production on Defendants'
part, but if they wish to avoid litigating the full breadth
of Plaintiff's Monell claim, their only path is
through a dispositive motion.
(Docket #59 at 2-3). There is no reason for a different
result in this instance.
decision is consistent with Armor's cited cases, in which
the district courts appropriately considered the scope of the
claims at issue to determine the outer bounds of permissible
discovery. For instance, in Saunders v. City of
Chicago, Case No. 12-cv-9158, 2017 WL 36407, at *7-9
(N.D. Ill. Jan. 4, 2017), the court limited production of
records from a vast police database to those records
concerning the relevant individuals. And in Mann v. City
of Chicago, No. 15 CV 9197, 2017 WL 3970592, at *5 (N.D.
Ill. Sept. 8, 2017), the court, after observing the
importance of broad discovery regarding the plaintiff's
wide-ranging Monell claim, concluded that certain
government officials had such short tenures that discovery of
their emails was not sufficiently important and risked
needless duplication of effort. Here too, the Court has
addressed the fit between Plaintiff's Monell
claim and the discovery sought, and although Armor complains
about the quantity of documents, it does not suggest any
problem with duplicative production. Plaintiff's motion
will be granted on this point.
Plaintiff argues that Armor should be required to respond to
her Interrogatory No. 12, which asks it to provide the
factual basis for each of its affirmative defenses. (Docket
#60 at 4). Armor originally objected on the basis of
work-product protection, but it now raises a different
objection-namely, that its contentions regarding its
affirmative defenses should not be required until, at
earliest, the close of discovery. (Docket #71 at 4);
Gregg v. Local 305 IBEW, Cause No. 1:08-CV-160, 2009
WL 1325103, at *6 (N.D. Ind. May 13, 2009) (answers to
contention interrogatories are often delayed until the end of
discovery to promote judicial economy and fairness).
Court does not accept either of Armor's objections.
First, it is unclear why Armor would claim work-product
protection for its response to this interrogatory, as it is
well-settled that contention interrogatories are entirely
appropriate even though they ask for opinions as to the
interaction of law and fact. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
33(a)(2); Davis v. City of Springfield, Ill., No.
04-3168, 2009 WL 268893, at *7 (C.D. Ill. Jan. 30, 2009).
Second, although Armor is correct that it is sometimes
permissible to delay responses to contention interrogatories
until the close of discovery, in this branch of the Court
discovery does not close until thirty days before trial, as
provided in the Local Rules. Civ. L. R. 26(c). Waiting until
that juncture might deprive Plaintiff of the ability to seek
summary disposition of the affirmative defenses, if she so
chose. Moreover, the end of discovery is not a hard deadline;
courts have also expressed the need for delaying until
“substantial discovery has taken place.” In
re H & R Block Mortgage Corp., Prescreening Litig.,
No. 2:06-MD-230, 2006 WL 3692431, at *4 (N.D. Ind. Dec. 13,
2006). Armor does not argue that there has not been