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Violett v. Dowden

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

March 18, 2019

DONALD R. VIOLETT, Plaintiff
v.
CASEY DOWDEN, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Rebecca Grady Jennings, United States District Court District Judge

         Plaintiff Donald R. Violett, a prisoner incarcerated at the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR), filed the instant pro se action. This matter is before the Court on numerous pending motions. [DN 45; DN 53; DN 57; DN 63; DN 64; DN 65; DN 68; DN 71; DN 72; DN 74; DN 76; DN 80; DN 82; DN 83; DN 89; DN 91; DN 98]. This Order addresses all pending motions of the parties, except for Defendant Domalewski's Motion to Dismiss for Want of Prosecution And/Or Summary Judgment. [DN 69].

         Upon initial review of the Complaint and amendments under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007), the Court allowed these claims to proceed beyond screening: (1) retaliation claims against Defendants Turner, Dowden, Hall, Valentine, and Domalewski in their individual capacities; (2) equal-protection claims against Defendants Dowden, Turner, Hall, and Valentine in their individual capacities; (3) access-to-courts claim against Defendants Dowden, Turner, Hall, and Valentine in their individual capacities; (4) an Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Domalewski in his individual capacity for deliberate indifference to Violett's safety; (5) an official-capacity claim under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act against Defendants Lefebvre and Royalty; and (6) an Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Valentine in her individual capacity over conditions of Violett's confinement while housed in the Restricted Housing Unit.

         I. Motion For Enlargement of Time to File Response to Plaintiff's “Motion for Release of Additional Documents.” [DN 65].

         Defendants Dowden, Hall, Turner, Lefebvre, Royalty, and Valentine (the KSR Defendants) filed a motion for extension of time [DN 65] to file a response to Violett's motion seeking “release of additional documents.” [DN 57]. The Court finds that the KSR Defendants state adequate grounds for extending the time for a response. As a result, the motion for extension of time [DN 65] is GRANTED. The Court considers the response timely filed. [DN 65-2].

         II. Motion for Extension of Time to File Dispositive Motions. [DN 68; DN 82].

         The KSR Defendants also filed two motions for extension of time to file dispositive motions. [DN 68; DN 82]. The Court finds that the KSR Defendants state adequate grounds for the extension of time. The KSR Defendants' motion for summary judgment is filed as an exhibit to their second motion. [DN 82-2]. For these reasons, the motions [DN 68; DN 82] are GRANTED. The Court considers the motion for summary judgment, memorandum in support, exhibits, and proposed order timely filed. [DN 82-2; DN 82-3; DN 82-4 through DN 82-11; DN 82-12].

         III. Motions for Extension of Discovery. [DN 57, DN 64, DN 71; DN 72].

         Violett has asked for an extension of time to conduct discovery in various pending motions, including his “Motion for Release of Additional Documents” [DN 57], “Motion to Depose Defendants in ‘On Camera' Hearing” [DN 64], and his “Motion for Enlargement” in his “Reply to Defendants Various Reponses” [DN 71]. The KSR Defendants originally opposed these motions. [DN 65; DN 67]. But the KSR Defendants later filed their Reponse to Plaintiff's Motion for Enlargement and Defendants' Motion Joining Plaintiff's Request. [DN 72]. In the motion, the KSR Defendants request an extended discovery and briefing schedule. They assert that such extended schedule will not prejudice any of the parties.

         While Defendant Domalewski responded in opposition to Violet's motion to depose [DN 70], he did not file responses to several of the other discovery motions. Defendant Domalewski later opposed the KSR Defendants' motion joining in Plaintiff's request for an enlargement of time for discovery, while not opposing the KSR Defendants' request for additional time to file dispositive motions. [DN 77]. Both responses in opposition assert that there is insufficient justification for continued discovery and that Defendant Domalewski will be prejudiced by reopening discovery because he has already filed his summary judgment motion. [DE 77].

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure commit to the district court's sound discretion whether to amend a pretrial scheduling order. Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(b)(4). Rule 16(b)(4) provides that “[a] schedule may be modified only for good cause and with the judge's consent.” The Sixth Circuit has suggested “[t]he primary measure of Rule 16's ‘good cause' standard is the moving party's diligence in attempting to meet the case management order's requirements.” Inge v. Rock Fin. Corp., 281 F.3d 613, 625 (6th Cir. 2002) (citation and internal quotations omitted); see also Leary v. Daeschner, 349 F.3d 888, 906 (6th Cir. 2003) (A court “may modify a scheduling order for good cause only if a deadline cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension.”). This “good cause” standard “primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment. In other words, to demonstrate ‘good cause' a party must show that despite their diligence the time table could not reasonably have been met.” Woodcock v. Ky. Dept. of Corr., No. 5:12-CV-00135-GNS-LLK, 2016 WL 3676768, at *2 (W.D. Ky. July 6, 2016) (quoting Tschantz v. McCann, 160 F.R.D. 568, 571 (N.D. Ind. 1995)). “Another relevant consideration is possible prejudice to the party opposing the modification.” Inge, 281 F.3d at 625 (citation omitted).

         The Court must first find that the moving party proceeded diligently before considering whether the nonmoving party is prejudiced, and only then to ascertain if there are any additional reasons to deny the motion. Smith v. Holston Med. Grp., P.C., 595 Fed.Appx. 474, 479 (6th Cir. 2014). Thus, the movant who fails to show “good cause” is not entitled to relief under Rule 16(b)(4) just because the opposing party will not suffer substantial prejudice by modification of the scheduling order. Interstate Packaging Co. v. Century Indem. Co., 291 F.R.D. 139, 145 (M.D. Tenn. 2013) (citing Leary, 349 F.3d at 906, 909; Korn v. Paul Revere Life Ins. Co., 382 Fed.Appx. 443, 449 (6th Cir. 2010)).

         At the time of the requests for additional discovery, many motions either requesting orders compelling the production of documents, i.e., DN 45, or requesting additional discovery, i.e., DN 57, DN 64, were pending. It appears from the pleadings that Plaintiff was diligently pursuing discovery. At least two of Violett's motions were filed before the discovery deadline, specifically his motions for a medical exam and expert [DN 28] and his motion seeking documents from the subpoenas duces tecum filed by Domalewski. [DN 45 at 1]. The Court had not ruled on these motions, and others related to access to the law library, before the discovery deadline in the Court's Amended Order Regarding Service and Revised Scheduling Order. [DN 22]. Given these outstanding motions, the Court finds good cause to grant limited additional time for discovery.

         While one of the defendants asserts prejudice, as they have already filed a summary judgment motion, this prejudice can be remedied by the opportunity to supplement the summary judgment motion after discovery is complete, if necessary.

         Thus, the requests for an enlargement of time for discovery [DN 71; DN 72] will be GRANTED and deadlines for limited additional discovery are set in the Second Revised Scheduling Order which the Court will issue by separate order. Discovery will be limited to the specific claims at issue in Plaintiff's Complaint and not events which took place after the filing of the Complaint. All requests for discovery must adhere to the rulings set forth herein. The Court reminds Plaintiff that discovery requests must comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 5(d) and should not be filed with the Court until used in the proceeding. Defendants will be granted time to supplement their dispositive motions after this limited discovery. Plaintiff is warned, no further extensions of discovery will be granted.

         IV. Motion To Obtain Documents. [DN 45].

         Violett's motion requests production to two types of documents. [DN 45]. First, Violett asks the Court to compel “release of the same documents the defendants seek in their ‘Notice of Intent' at no cost to the Plaintiff, as he is unable to pay for copies.” Id. at 1. Defendants did not respond. The Court presumes that Violett is referring to the notices of intent to obtain documents through subpoenas duces tecum filed by Domalewski about 10 days before Violett filed this motion. [DN 42; DN 43; DN 44]. These subpoenas duces tecum requested the Records Custodian of KSR to produce records related to inmate disciplinary actions against Violett, grievances he filed, and his medical records. Id.

         The Court's Amended Order Regarding Service and Revised Scheduling Order [DN 22] required Defendants to produce “to Plaintiff all records or documentation relevant to the claim(s) set forth in the complaint that survived initial review.” Id. at 2. The Order also required Defendants to file a certification that production is complete no later than July 9, 2018. Id. Upon review of the docket, Domalewski did not comply with these provisions. Because the documents which Domalewski subpoenaed presumably are relevant to Violett's claims and therefore should be produced under this provision, Violett's motion to obtain these documents is GRANTED. The Court directs Domalewski to comply with the Revised Scheduling Order on production and certification of discovery.[1]

         Second, Violett also requests Domalewski to provide “[a]ny and all sworn written or recorded statements the Defendants received from their ‘God' saying their ‘God' caused the serious physical injures to [Violett] and their ‘God' swears the Defendants are not liable for the serious physical injuries caused to [Violett].” [DN 45 at 1]. The Court finds that Violett does not make this request in good faith. As a result, the motion to obtain this second class of documents is DENIED.

         V. Motion For Sanctions. [DN 53].

         Violett also filed a motion which he captioned as a “motion to sanction.” [DN 53]. This motion requests that “this Court enter an immediate order for Defendants to give Plaintiff access to the Legal Library so Plaintiff [can] conduct [legal] research and type his legal pleadings . . . .” Id. at 1. Violett complains that “hand writing each pleading causes great-serious pain and suffering to [Violett's] fingers, hands, and lower arms as Plaintiff is housed in Nursing Care Facility and does not have access to Legal Library or word processor to type legal pleadings.” Id.

         Violett states that “opposing attorney(s)” made false statements when they stated that “‘Dr.' Thad Manning did [not] note any complaints of numbness or pains at the time of his examination.” Id. at 2. He states that Defendant Manning's “licenses has been suspended for lying in medical reports and Manning has never examined the Plaintiff” and that “the only time Manning spoke to the Plaintiff was on June 18, 2018, to tell the Plaintiff that Manning was going to change some of Plaintiff medicines because Plaintiff has high blood pressure . . . .” Id.

         Violett then criticizes Correct Care staff for their treatment of his complaints about numbness and pain in his fingers, hands, and lower arms and inability to walk. He states, “The opposing attorney(s) are misrepresenting the facts as Plaintiff is not receiving any kind of treatment or medical care for the numbness in his fingers, hands, lower arms, and lower legs.” Id. He reports that he is no longer using a walker and is now using a wheelchair. Id. He requests a hearing and an order that Defendant produce a “paper copy of all medical records on Plaintiff, for after September 18, 2017, to see what treatment or medical care Plaintiff has received . . . .” Id. at 3. He also requests the imposition of sanctions and the payment of “additional restitution for the added expense of wasting this Court's time and for pain and suffering Plaintiff has daily.” Id.

         The KSR Defendants responded [DN 55], which Domalewski incorporated as his response [DN 56]. Defendants maintain that Violett was previously an inmate legal aide but no longer has the access to the legal library afforded to a legal aide. Defendants state that Violett has the same access to the law library as any other inmate in the Nursing Care Facility. Defendants argue that Violett must follow the prison's procedures for seeking legal assistance and assert that he has failed to follow those procedures. They attach the affidavit of Defendant Valentine in support of their arguments.

         Defendants also maintain that while Violett claims that unspecified “opposing attorneys” have misstated facts from his medical records, they have examined Defendants' recent responses and cannot find any such misstatements. As for Violett's allegations about his medical care, Defendants argue that the complaints mainly concern persons who are not parties. They also maintain that his medical records show that Violett is housed in KSR's Nursing Care Facility and that he had recently been taken to two different private hospitals for treatment outside the prison ...


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