United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
FOR DISCOVERY ORDERS (DKT. NO. 20), DENYING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION TO STAY SUMMARY JUDGMENT DEADLINES (DKT. NO. 38),
DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO RESPOND TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST TO SEAL
PORTIONS OF RECORD (DKT. NO. 39)
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff is a Wisconsin state prisoner representing himself.
On June 18, 2018, the court screened his complaint and
allowed him to proceed on claims that the defendants
transferred him from Waupun Correctional Institution to Green
Bay Correctional Institution-a facility that they knew would
subject him to conditions he was not psychologically equipped
to handle-in retaliation for helping a fellow inmate with a
case. Dkt. No. 8 at 7. On December 4, 2018, the court
screened the proposed amended complaint and allowed the
plaintiff to proceed on that pleading. Dkt. No. 15. The
amended complaint states the same claims as the original
complaint, but leaves out reference to the medical condition
that the plaintiff feared would not be accommodated: Green
Bay. Dkt. No. 16. The plaintiff has filed a motion for
discovery orders, dkt. no. 20, a motion to stay summary
judgment deadlines, dkt. no. 38, and a motion to seal summary
judgment filings, dkt. no. 39. The court addresses these
Motion for Discovery Orders (Dkt. No. 20)
The Plaintiff's Motion
plaintiff's motion for discovery orders asks the court
for an extension of the discovery deadline, an extension of
the limit on interrogatories and an order allowing him to
conduct discovery of non-defendants. Dkt. No. 20 at 1.
plaintiff requests a forty-day extension of the discovery
deadline. Id. at 2. He states that he needs more
time because of the delayed disclosure of a document which
presented new information that requires follow-up.
Id. The plaintiff says that the defendants did not
provide him certain documents until the third time he asked
for them, which was two weeks before the discovery deadline.
Id. at 2-3. He asserts that he needs more time to
follow up on new information discovered in the documents.
Id. at 3.
the plaintiff asks the court to expand the twenty-five
interrogatory limit to allow him to submit forty
interrogatories. Id. He states that the parties
disagree on how to calculate the number of interrogatories
the plaintiff already has submitted, and says that if the
court will permit him to submit forty, he will be well within
the allowed number of interrogatories by either party's
interpretation. Id. According to the plaintiff,
“[g]ood cause is shown by the fact that as a pro se,
prisoner plaintiff, the defendants are not required to submit
mandatory disclosures under Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 26, the
plaintiff is unable to conduct depositions and there are
multiple defendants in this action.” Id. at 4.
the plaintiff requests an order allowing him to take
discovery from three non-party witnesses who had contact with
the defendants concerning the abrupt withdrawal of his
“WSPF [Wisconsin Secure Program Facility]
transfer” in 2015. Id. He states that the
information he seeks from non-party witnesses is relevant and
may lead to admissible evidence and asks that the court
approve the subpoenas and discovery requests he submitted
along with his motion. Id. at 5.
The Defendants' Response
defendants assert that the evidence the plaintiff seeks is
not relevant to his claim. Dkt. No. 22 at 1. They say the
plaintiff theorizes that he was transferred in 2017 in
retaliation for helping another inmate with a lawsuit which
was filed October 25, 2016. Id. According to the
defendants, the plaintiff seeks discovery from non-parties to
determine why the Department of Corrections chose not to
transfer the plaintiff to WSPF in 2015. Id. The
defendants state that there are no documents from 2015-a year
before the filing of the other inmate's case-which would
tend to make it more likely that the defendants transferred
the plaintiff in 2017 in retaliation for the case.
Id. at 1-2.
The Court's Analysis
plaintiff's requests for an extension of the discovery
deadline and to submit forty total interrogatories are
reasonable. The court will grant these requests.
court will deny the plaintiff's third request-to allow
him to conduct discovery on non-party witnesses by approving
the enclosed subpoenas- because the subpoenas contain
interrogatories and requests for production of
documents from non-parties. See Dkt. No. 20-1 at
5-16. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45 permits parties to
obtain information from non-parties, but only through
testimony at trial or by deposition, or through inspection
and copying of documents the non-party is required to produce
at trial or deposition. Rule 45 does not allow a party to
serve interrogatories on a ...