United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
D. PETERSON, DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff George Taylor is an inmate at Columbia Correctional
Institution (CCI). He alleges that defendants Warden Michael
Dittman and Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC)
Secretary Jon Litscher maintained a policy of having
correctional officers, rather than medical staff, distribute
prisoners' medications, and that this policy led
defendant Sergeant Doyle to provide Taylor the wrong
has moved for an order compelling defendants to produce
several categories of documents. Dkt. 32. I will address each
category in turn.
Self-assessment statements and internal budgets
asks defendants to produce the DOC's self-assessment
statements related to the practice of having correctional
officers distribute medications and all internal budgets from
1997 to the present. Dkt. 34-2, ¶¶ 1-2. In
particular, Taylor seeks the self-assessments and budget
statements that were used by the plaintiffs in Flynn v.
Doyle, 630 F.Supp.2d 987, 990- 91 (E.D. Wis. 2009), to
prove deliberate indifference. Flynn was a class
action brought by inmates at Taycheedah Correctional
Institution that challenged a medication distribution policy
similar to the one at CCI.
say that under the DOC's record-retention policy, all
internal budget requests prior to 2015 would have been
destroyed, and all self-assessments from prior to 2010 would
have been destroyed. But they say that they have given Taylor
all reports that are still available, including a 2010 cost
analysis and feasibility study on the delivery of medications
and the DOC's internal budget papers from 2015-2019.
says that the destroyed documents may still exist on
microfilm. But Taylor provides no basis for me to believe
that. Because I cannot compel defendants to provide documents
they do not possess, Taylor's request to compel
production of additional self-assessments and internal
budgets will be denied.
Inmate complaints and incident reports
asks for all inmate complaints and incident reports related
to medication errors caused by correctional
officers. Defendants provided summaries of all
inmate complaints related to medication errors from the last
18 years, but they did not provide the complaints themselves.
Dkt. 34-3, at 3-22. Defendants did not provide any incident
reports. Instead, they gave Taylor a report from the
DOC's central pharmacy that listed all medication errors
at male institutions from the last eight years. Dkt. 34-3, at
30-39. Taylor says that these summaries are insufficient and
that defendants should be required to provide redacted copies
of the actual complaints and incident reports. Defendants
contend that this would be unduly burdensome.
say that inmate complaints are maintained in packets that
include multiple levels of appeals and supporting
documentation. All documents in the packet would need to be
redacted to remove identifying information and protect inmate
confidentiality. Taylor concedes that this poses a
significant burden on the defendants. But as a compromise, he
says that he will go through the summaries and select the
specific complaints that he needs to prove his case. He also
agrees to limit his request to the institution complaint
examiner's report and the reviewing authority's
decision, rather than the entire complaint packet.
a reasonable compromise that should significantly lighten
defendants' burden. For now, I will deny Taylor's
motion to compel production of inmate complaints. But Taylor
may serve defendants with additional requests for specific
inmate complaints as outlined in his proposal. He will need
to limit his requests to the institution complaint
examiner's report and the reviewing authority's
decision, and the documents will be redacted to protect
the incident reports, defendants say that there is no way to
search them electronically, so each report needs to be
individually read to determine whether it relates to
medication errors. They say that in 2017 alone, there were 3,
620 incident reports at CCI, the majority of which are
irrelevant to this case.
burden or expense of the proposed discovery is a factor to
consider when deciding whether to order production of
discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). It must be weighed against
the likely benefit of the discovery to the party requesting
it. Id. And here, the burden on defendants outweighs
any benefit that Taylor will get from the incident reports
that he cannot already get from the central pharmacy report.
The pharmacy report lists the date of each medication error,
the institution where it took place, a summary of the
incident (e.g. “methadone dose incorrect”), and
whether the error was caused by nursing, pharmacy, or
security staff. From this, Taylor can determine how often
officers (rather than nursing or pharmacy staff) gave inmates
the wrong medication or dose at CCI. Because individual
incident reports are unlikely to provide any additional
relevant information, I will deny Taylor's motion to
compel as to the incident reports.
Documents related to implementation of the electronic ...