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Williams v. Syed

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

April 8, 2019

TRAVIS D. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. SALAM SYED, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          STEPHEN L. CROCKER MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Travis D. Williams, who is currently incarcerated at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility (“WSPF”) is proceeding against defendants, all employees at Columbia Correctional Institution (“Columbia”), where Williams was incarcerated previously, on First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims related to his medical care and placement within the prison. Williams has filed a motion to compel (dkt. #43), lodging numerous complaints about defendants' discovery requests. For the reasons that follow, I am granting in part and denying in part this motion.

         Williams claims that defendants' responses to his first two sets of discovery requests have been inadequate and he seeks the requested documents as well as sanctions. I will begin with two points: First, I am not going to sanction defense counsel. Williams accuses defense counsel of lying in the discovery responses, but he has presented no evidence in support, so I will not address these assertions further. Second, Williams generally takes issue with defendants' objections to many of Williams' discovery requests as unduly burdensome, overbroad and vague, but these objections were reasonable. Indeed, many of Williams's requests seek documents that span from 2015 to 2018, and do not explain how the documents are related to his particular claims against the defendants in this lawsuit. Williams's claims in this lawsuit relate only to the events that took place while he was incarcerated at CCI. Since Williams left CCI in April of 2017, I generally agree that Williams' records from WSPF are not relevant to his claims in this lawsuit.

         As for Williams' specific complaints, he points out that defendants declined to respond to his first set of discovery requests, which is true. Williams served discovery requests prior to the court's scheduling conference, so defense counsel responded that, in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(d), defendants would respond within 30 days of the scheduling conference. (See Pl. Ex. 1 (dkt. 44-1).) That response was not improper and in any event, any complaint about it is moot since defendants timely responded to Williams' second requests for production.

         Williams also complains about defendants' response to his second set of requests for documents, which I will walk through by request:

         Request No. 1, requesting video footage from CCI from May 25, 2016, July 2016 (showing that defendant nurse DeYoung flicked him off), and October 3 2016.

         Defendants objected to the request as vague and confusing, but also responded that “there is no video footage of Plaintiff from October 3, 2016 or May 25, 2016.” (Pl. Ex. 2 (dkt. 44-2) at 1.) Williams might be frustrated that defendants were unable to produce video evidence, but he has not submitted any evidence suggesting that the video footage from those days and that incident actually exists, much less that defendants are improperly withholding it.

         Request No. 3, requesting incident report 2016-237734 of the October 3 2016 incident of Plaintiff flipping over his walker.

         Defendants produced that incident report, but Williams now complains that defendants did not product other incident reports as well. Defendants were only obliged to produce the incident report that Williams requested, and they did so. If Williams wants another report, he must request it separately.

         Request No. 4, seeking DOC 1008 unit area pass logs from May 5th 2015 through May 2017, and WSPF pass logs from May 2017 through 2018.

         Defendants objected to this request as overly broad and not proportional to the needs of the case, since Williams was allowed to proceed on events that took place when Williams was incarcerated at CCI, not WSPF. Defendants further responded that there were no documents from CCI that would be responsive, representing that CCI does not retain unit pass logs. In reply, Williams insists he needs the logs so that he can identify the dates he was scheduled for appointments, by provider. Defendants cannot produce what they do not possess. As such, since defendants have provided Williams a copy of his medical records, Williams should review those materials for the information he seeks about his appointments.[1]

         Requests 5 and 6, seeking Williams' medical and mental health files from WSPF, from March 2015 through 2018.

         Defendants initially objected to these requests because Williams had not signed a medical release that granted defendants access to his medical and mental health records. After Williams signed the authorization defendants provided Williams a copy of his records. Accordingly, this issue is moot.

         Requests 7-10 seek all of Williams' complaints he filed at CCI and WSPF from May 5, 2015, through July 2017; DOC 660 forms of CCI unit absence records from March 2015 through 2017; Interview/Information Request Forms Williams submitted from ...


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