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Bradford v. Shrock

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

August 10, 2017



          Dave Whalin, Magistrate Judge United States District

         Plaintiff Byron A. Bradford (“Bradford”) initiated this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit almost six years ago while incarcerated at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, Kentucky. (DN 1). Bradford has proceeded pro se for the entirety of the case. Presently before the Court is the joint motion of Defendants Marcia Shrock, Rhonda Coleman, and Kristy Mullins seeking leave to reopen discovery. (DN 221). Bradford has responded in opposition. (DN 226). Defendants have filed replies. (DN 228; DN 229). For the reasons explained below, the Court denies Defendants' Motion.

         Procedural Background

         Byron Bradford filed this action in November of 2011, asserting violations of the Eighth Amendment against James McCoy, Karen Owens, Marcia Shrock, Doug Crall, and Correct Care-Integrated Health Inc. (“CorrectCare”), and violations of the First Amendment against Marcia Shrock, Kristy Mullins, and Rhonda Coleman. (DN 1, at ¶¶ 181-92). Bradford's claims stem from a left ankle injury he suffered while playing basketball at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex (“LLCC”), the institution where he was incarcerated at the time. (Id. at ¶¶ 3, 12). Bradford believes the medical staff at LLCC denied him adequate medical care after he reported the injury and demonstrated “deliberate indifference” to his serious medical need. (Id. at ¶¶ 182-89). Because the medical staff allegedly failed to assess the seriousness of his condition, Bradford feels his treatment was delayed and he now suffers from a permanent injury to his left leg. Bradford additionally claims that certain Defendants retaliated against him for filing grievances and open records requests relating to his medical treatment by issuing disciplinary write-ups against him, placing him in the Special Management Unit at LLCC, and transferring him to another facility. (Id. at ¶¶ 190-92).

         In December of 2011, the Court entered a scheduling order, requiring the completion of pretrial discovery no later than May 2, 2012, and the filing of dispositive motions by either party no later than July 2, 2012. (DN 8). Three months later both parties moved to extend these deadlines when Bradford sought leave to file a supplemental complaint and a temporary restraining order. (DN24; DN 25; DN 29; DN 35). The Court granted the extension, pushing the completion of discovery to no later than July 2, 2012, and the filing of dispositive motions to no later than August 31, 2012. (DN 40).

         On June 19, 2012, the “CorrectCare” Defendants[1] moved for summary judgment. (DN 56). While that motion was pending, the Court granted Bradford leave to file his proposed supplemental complaint and amended complaint. (DN 89). As a result, the Court remanded the CorrectCare Defendants' summary judgment motion and, for the second time, amended the scheduling order to postpone the completion of discovery to August 15, 2013, and the filing of dispositive motions to October 16, 2013. (DN 93). Bradford's amended complaint added a conspiracy claim against Marcia Shrock and CorrectCare relating to his medical treatment (DN 94), while his supplemental complaint alleged that unspecified “Defendants” continued to provide him with unconstitutional treatment after his Achilles tendon surgery (DN 94-1).

         The CorrectCare Defendants renewed their motion for summary judgment on August 19, 2013. (DN 120). Bradford requested an extension for replying to the summary judgment motion based on a number of outstanding discovery disputes between the parties. (DN 124). The Court once again remanded the CorrectCare Defendants' motion for summary judgment from the active docket and further amended the scheduling deadlines to require completion of discovery by June 30, 2014, and the filing of dispositive motions by August 29, 2014. (DN 139; DN 140).

         After waiting for the discovery deadline to pass, the CorrectCare Defendants again moved to renew their motion for summary judgment (DN 156), and the KDOC Defendants moved for summary judgment as well (DN 162). But because discovery matters between Bradford and the KDOC Defendants were still being addressed by the Court, the Defendants' motions were overruled as premature. (DN 165). Once the discovery disputes were finally resolved in October of 2015, the Court entered a new scheduling order, adjusting the dispositive motion deadline to May 2, 2016. (DN 185).

         Both the CorrectCare Defendants and KDOC Defendants once more renewed their motions for summary judgment by the dispositive motion deadline. (DN 186; DN 187). Bradford requested his response deadline be extended to July 1, 2016 (DN 188), which the Court granted (DN 189). Bradford requested another response-deadline extension until July 20, 2016 (DN 191), but before the Court could rule on such extension, Bradford filed his 91-page response brief. (DN 192).

         The District Judge issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order on November 29, 2016, dismissing all of Bradford's claims except his First Amendment retaliation claims against Marcia Shrock, Kristy Mullins, and Rhonda Coleman. (DN 201). Almost three months later, the District Judge issued an Order referring the case to the undersigned Magistrate Judge to conduct a status conference for the purpose of setting a final litigation schedule. (DN 214). During such status conference, the remaining Defendants expressed their desire to take additional discovery in the case, including the deposition of Bradford. (DN 219). The Court, accordingly, allowed Defendants 30 days to file any motion relating to additional discovery and giving Bradford 30 days to respond if such motion was filed. (DN 219).

         Defendants filed the present motion to reopen discovery on May 30, 2017. (DN 221). Before Bradford's response time had expired, the remaining Defendants filed “Second Motions for Summary Judgment.” (DN 222; DN 223). These motions essentially seek “revision” of the Court's earlier Memorandum Opinion and Order, which ruled judgement as a matter of law was not appropriate as to Bradford's First Amendment retaliation claims.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4) provides that a scheduling order “may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's consent.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). District courts have “broad discretion under the rules of civil procedure” in managing the discovery process and controlling their dockets. Marie v. Am. Red. Cross, 771 F.3d 344, 366 (6th Cir. 2014). The Sixth Circuit has established a number of factors for district courts to consider when determining whether good cause exists to modify a discovery schedule, including: “(1) when the moving party learned of the issue that is the subject of discovery; (2) how the discovery would affect the ruling below; (3) the length of the discovery period; (4) whether the moving party was dilatory; and (5) whether the adverse party was responsive to . . . prior discovery requests.” Carter v. City of Detroit, No. 11-15322, 2015 WL 3678433, at *2 (E.D. Mich. June 12, 2015) (quoting Marie, 771 F.3d at 366) (quoting Bentowski v. Scene Magazine, 637 F.3d 689, 696 (6th Cir. 2011). The primary measure of these factors and the good cause standard, however, is “whether the moving party was diligent in pursuing discovery.” Marie, 771 F.3d at 366; see also Inge v. Rock Financial Corp., 281 F.3d 613, 625 (6th Cir. 2002) (the primary measure of Rule 16's good cause standard is “the moving ...

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