United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
STADTMUELLER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
parties in this matter are embroiled in yet another discovery
spat. It arises primarily from Plaintiff's use of illegal
drugs, past and present. The parties dispute whether
Plaintiff should be required to answer certain deposition
questions about her drug use which she refused to answer,
whether she needs to further supplement interrogatory
responses related to this and other topics, and whether
Defendants should be permitted to depose her a second time.
See (Docket #132, #134, #136, #137).
Court answers all of these questions in the affirmative.
District courts have broad discretion in deciding matters
relating to discovery. Packman v. Chi. Tribune Co.,
267 F.3d 628, 646-47 (7th Cir. 2001); Rennie v.
Dalton, 3 F.3d 1100, 1110 (7th Cir. 1993). Under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1), 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The
information sought need not itself be admissible to be
discoverable. Id. In considering matters of
proportionality, the Rule directs courts to consider
“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 likely benefit.” Id.
respect to the deposition questions, the Court finds that
Plaintiff's drug use could affect her ability to recall
pertinent information or the nature and extent of her claimed
damages. It is, therefore, relevant. Plaintiff's efforts
to make her drug use a non-issue are unavailing. First, while
her use of illicit substances may feel intrusive to her
personally, it is she who placed her veracity and recall in
issue by bringing the present suit. Second, even if she does
not seek damages for relapse into drug addiction after the
trauma of her childbirth at the Milwaukee County Jail,
(Docket #146 at 3-4), narcotics could have myriad effects on
her memory and well-being that Defendants are entitled to
explore at this juncture, whether or not the jury needs
ultimately to hear about it. Eggleston v. Chi. Journeyman
Plumbers Local Union No. 130, U.A., 657 F.2d 890, 903
(7th Cir. 1981) (“‘Relevant' is defined in
Rule 401, Federal Rules of Evidence, but relevancy in the
context of a discovery deposition has a broader meaning.
Admissibility at trial is not the test.”). Further,
contrary to Plaintiff's view, the few answers about drug
use she did give at her deposition do not render the matter
moot, as Defendants are entitled to a fulsome examination of
this topic. See (Docket #132 at 5). She will be
directed to sit for another deposition and must not refuse to
answer questions on these matters absent a need to preserve a
privilege or prevent some unrelated vein of harassment.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(c)(2); Eggleston, 657 F.2d at 902.
the Court addresses Plaintiff's interrogatory responses.
First, the Milwaukee County Defendants seek identification of
all of her treatment providers from 2012 to the present, and
information about any diagnoses of mental or emotional
injuries and any resulting treatment. (Docket #134 at 2-3).
These are permissible inquiries, given that Plaintiff claims
mental and emotional harm resulting from the events in
question in this case. Even her physical health is ripe for
investigation, as the events of March 9, 2014 involved trauma
to her person whether or not she seeks damages for those
injuries. Certainly, if Plaintiff thinks inquiry about a
particular treatment provider or course of treatment goes
beyond the scope of permissible, proportional discovery, she
can seek a protective order, but her blanket refusals to
provide baseline amounts of information are misguided.
the Milwaukee County Defendants seek information about
Plaintiff's treatment for drug addiction. Id. at
4. For the reasons covered above, the Court views
Plaintiff's past and present drug use and treatment as
fully within the scope of discovery in this matter. Whether
and to what extent information about her drug use goes before
the jury is not the question of the day. Additionally,
Plaintiff's limited supplementation of her responses
after her deposition does not make this dispute moot,
see (Docket #145); given the Court's rulings
herein, Plaintiff should carefully evaluate all of the
relevant interrogatory responses and supplement them as
appropriate, including providing authorizations for
Defendants to obtain medical records from pertinent
the Court will order Plaintiff to sit for a second
deposition. (Docket #136, #137). This will facilitate further
inquiry into the drug use topics discussed above, and it will
permit Armor an opportunity to pose questions to her. Armor
explains that because of scheduling difficulties, the court
reporter at Plaintiff's deposition could not stay long
enough for Armor to ask Plaintiff any questions. (Docket #137
at 2-3). In total, Plaintiff was deposed for just over five
seeks to foist this bad turn of events on Defendants, saying
she was available but that Defendants fumbled the logistics
of the deposition. (Docket #132 at 6) (Docket #146 at 4).
However, she offers no real reason that a second deposition
will prejudice her. Given the need to permit the Milwaukee
County Defendants additional time to ask questions, it is
only fair that Armor be given the same opportunity. The
second deposition must not exceed three hours. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(1) (“The court must allow
additional time consistent with Rule 26(b)(1) and (2) if
needed to fairly examine the deponent or if the deponent,
another person, or any other circumstance impedes or delays
reasons stated above, the Court will grant Defendants'
motions to compel further responses to deposition questions
and interrogatories and will permit Defendants to depose
Plaintiff a second time for a period of three hours. No.
award of fees or expenses will be made, as the Court does not
find that such an award is equitable, and Defendants'
one-line request for the same is cursory and unsupported by
any argument or evidence regarding the fees incurred.
See (Docket #134 at 4); Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A);
Commodity Future Trading Comm'n v. Trade Exch.
Network Ltd., 159 F.Supp.3d 5, 8 (D.D.C. 2015)
(proponent of fee award under Rule 37 must show that rate
requested and hours expended are reasonable); Kamps v.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson L.L.P., 274
F.R.D. 115, 120 (S.D.N.Y. 2011) (fees denied where no
contemporaneous time records describing work performed were
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion for a protective
order relating to her deposition and interrogatory responses
(Docket #132) be and the same is hereby DENIED;
FURTHER ORDERED that the Milwaukee County Defendants'
expedited motion to compel supplemental interrogatory
responses (Docket #134) be and the same is hereby and GRANTED
as stated herein;
FURTHER ORDERED that the Milwaukee County Defendants'
expedited motion to compel deposition question responses
(Docket #136) be and the same is hereby and GRANTED as stated
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Armor Correctional Health
Services' expedited motion to compel a second deposition
of Plaintiff (Docket #137) be and ...