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Troutman v. Louisville Metro Department of Corrections

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

June 19, 2018

STEPHANIE TROUTMAN, Administratrix of the Estate of CHARLES R. TROUTMAN, Jr., Deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
LOUISVILLE METRO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Colin H Lindsay, Magistrate Judge United States

         Plaintiff Stephanie Troutman (“Troutman”) has filed a motion to compel (DN 81) the production of administrative documents and mortality reviews from defendant Correct Care Solutions (“CCS”). She also seeks to re-depose defendant Kimberly Brown (“Brown”), an employee of CCS. For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS Troutman's motion to compel.

         I. Statement of Facts

         The following facts are adduced from Troutman's second amended complaint. (DN 28.) She alleges that in early November 2015, her father, Charles Troutman Jr. (“Troutman Jr.”), was arrested for narcotics offenses and booked into a detention facility operated by defendant Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (“LMDC”). (Id. at 197.) While he was being housed in an individual cell with barred windows following a jail fight, Troutman Jr. attempted to suffocate himself by wrapping a piece of gauze around his neck. (Id.) A LMDC officer rescued Troutman Jr., the latter stating shortly after his suicide attempt that he “had no reason to live.” (Id.) Troutman Jr. was cleared to return to general population three days after his suicide attempt (although he denied having made a suicide attempt). (Id. at 197-98.) Seven days after his return to general population, Troutman Jr. was involved in another fight and again sent to an individual cell with barred windows. (Id. at 198.) Troutman Jr.'s second suicide attempt was successful; he hanged himself by tying his bedsheets around one of the window's bars. (Id.) Troutman contends that defendant James Cox (“Cox”), an employee of LMDC, violated LMDC policies when he authorized the transfer of Troutman Jr. to an individual cell with barred windows without first obtaining approval from the onsite medical staff. (Id. at 199.)

         II. Summary of Law

Rule 26(b)(1) defines the scope of and limits on discovery. It provides:
Scope in General. Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within the scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Additionally, “[o]n motion or on its own, the court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed by these rules or by local rule if it determines that:

(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive;
(ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action; or
(iii) the proposed discovery is outside the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C). It is axiomatic that the Court has broad discretion in determining the proper scope of discovery. Chrysler Corp. v. Fedders Corp., 643 F.2d 1229, 1240 (6th Cir. 1981); Naartex Consulting Corp. v. Watt, 722 F.2d 779, 788 (D.C. Cir. 1983); Hibbs v. Marcum, 2018 WL 953347, at *2 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 20, 2018).

         III. Analysis

         Troutman makes three requests with her motion to compel. First, she requests that CCS produce “all internally conducted mortality reviews and/or psychological autopsies” in their possession along with the documents utilized in the generation of them that relate to Troutman Jr. and several other recently-deceased individuals. (DN 81, #434.) Second, she requests that Brown, who is employed by CCS as a nurse, reappear for her deposition after she refused to answer two questions during her first deposition at CCS's counsel's behest. (Id.) Finally, she seeks the costs and fees associated with bringing her motion to compel and re-deposing Brown. (Id.) The Court will address each of these requests in turn.

         A. Mortality Reviews and Underlying Documents

         On June 5, 2017, Troutman served discovery requests on CCS regarding Troutman Jr.'s suicide along with several other suicides that occurred both before and after his death. The two Interrogatories at issue here, Nos. 25 and 27, are as follows:

Interrogatory No. 25: Please produce any and all documents in the possession of CCS that constitute internally conducted mortality reviews and/or psychological autopsies and any reports in which pertinent policies and procedures involving suicide prevention and intervention were evaluated, either by employees of CCS or by consultants hired by CCS, with recommendations to corporate leadership and quality control divisions to correct or amend current ...

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