United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DEBRADRE D. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL KOWALCZYK, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO
CONDUCT LIMITED DISCOVERY (DKT. NO. 13)
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff, a Wisconsin state prisoner who is representing
himself, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §1983,
alleging that the defendants violated his civil rights at the
Racine Correctional Institution. Dkt. No. 1. On June 13,
2018, the court screened the complaint and allowed the
plaintiff to proceed with two claims: (1) that Michael
Kowalczyk used excessive force during a prison escort; and
(2) that David Lauderville showed deliberate indifference
toward the plaintiff's injuries after the use of
excessive force. Dkt. No. 7. Discovery closed December 10,
2018; dispositive motions are due January 11, 2019. Dkt. No.
December 14, 2018, the defendants filed a motion for leave to
conduct limited discovery. Dkt. No. 13. They explain that due
to multiple staff changes during the discovery phase of the
litigation, they accidentally failed to send the plaintiff a
copy of the “authorization for the use and disclosure
of medical information.” Id. at ¶6. As a
result, the defendants don't have access to the
plaintiff's medical file, which they need in order to
review the deliberate indifference claim against Lauderville.
Id. at ¶4. The defendants explain that they
need the plaintiff's medical file because the plaintiff
alleges, in part, that Lauderville denied him all medical
attention following the incident. Id. The defendants
also seek to challenge the extent of the plaintiff's
injuries following the incident with Kowalczyk. Id.
defendants discovered their error regarding the authorization
form on December 12, 2018 (two days after discovery closed).
Id. at ¶9. They immediately hand-delivered the
authorization form to the plaintiff. Id. at
¶10. According to the defendants, the plaintiff refused
to sign the document because discovery had closed two days
before. The defendants reached out again by letter, and the
plaintiff responded that he would prefer for the court to
resolve the issue. Id. Accordingly, the defendants
ask the court to (1) order the plaintiff to sign the
authorization for the use and disclosure of medical
information, and (2) briefly extend the scheduling order so
they can review his medical file. Id. at p. 6.
Although the defendants have reported that the plaintiff told
them that he opposes their requests, the plaintiff did not
file an objection or opposition to their motion to conduct
limited discovery within the timeframe outlined in Civil
Local Rule 7(b) (that is, within twenty-one days).
district court has considerable discretion in determining
whether or not to reopen discovery.” Carpenter v.
Scott, No. 14-3047, 2016 WL 4468557, at *2 (C.D. Ill.
Aug. 23, 2016) (citing Flint v. City of Belvidere,
791 F.3d 764, 768 (7th Cir. 2015)). After discovery has
closed, the court may grant a motion to extend discovery, for
good cause, if the party failed to act “because of
excusable neglect.” Id.; See also
Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1)(B). Rule 6(b)(1)(B) permits an extension
only upon a showing of both excusable neglect and
good cause. Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1)(B).
Supreme Court broadly defined excusable neglect.”
Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 606 (7th
Cir. 2006) (citing Pioneer Investment Servs. Co. v.
Brunswick Assoc. Ltd. Partnership, 507 U.S. 380, 395
(1993)). In determining whether excusable neglect exists, the
court reviews four factors: (1) the danger of prejudice to
the non-movant, (2) the length of the delay and its impact on
the judicial proceedings, (3) the reason for the delay
(including whether the delay was within the control of the
movant), and (4) the movant's good faith. Id.
“These factors are not weighted equally: the reason for
the delay is the most important factor.” McCann v.
Cullinan, No. 11 CV 50125, 2015 WL 4254226, at *7 (N.D.
Ill. July 14, 2015) (internal citations omitted).
“[C]ontext matters in determining excusable neglect,
including whether the movant was previously dilatory.
Id. (citing Blue v. Hartford Life & Accident
Ins. Co., 698 F.3d 587, 593-94 (7th Cir. 2012)).
defendants explain that there will be no prejudice to the
plaintiff in granting the motion, that the length of delay
was minimal, and that they have acted in good faith. The
defendants have asked the plaintiff to sign a single document
that gives them access to his medical file; they have not
asked the plaintiff to do additional legal work during the
extended discovery period, such as responding to
interrogatories and admissions or producing other types of
documents. Because the plaintiff put his medical treatment at
issue in the complaint, the defendants are entitled to review
his medical records. The length of delay was minimal-two
days. The defendants attempted to resolve this issue within
two days of discovering the problem. Had the plaintiff signed
the authorization at that time, this issue likely would be
resolved already. The court has no reason to believe that the
defendants have asked for the extension in bad faith. They
timely responded to the plaintiff's discovery requests
and have tried to resolve this issue without the court's
involvement. Finally, there is good cause to grant the
extension. Although the court takes deadlines seriously, it
also seeks to resolve litigation in a just manner. This
includes giving the defendants an opportunity to properly
defend themselves. The court will grant the defendants'
motion for leave to conduct limited discovery.
plaintiff wants to proceed with the case, he must sign the
“authorization for the use and disclosure of medical
information” form and submit it to the defendants as
soon as possible. The court will extend the summary judgment
deadline to forty-five (45) days after the date on which the
plaintiff signs the authorization form. The plaintiff should
be aware that if he does not sign the authorization form, the
defendants may ask the court to impose sanctions, including
asking the court to dismiss the case.
court GRANTS the defendants' motion for
leave to conduct limited discovery. Dkt. No. 13.
court ORDERS that any party wishing to file
a motion for summary judgment must do so within
forty-five (45) days of the date the
plaintiff signs the “authorization for ...