United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JOHN L. CONLEY, Plaintiff,
OFFICER BRYSGEL, ET AL., Defendant.
RULING AND ORDER
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Conley (“Plaintiff”), currently confined at
Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution, has filed two
motions to compel and a motion to alter or amend judgment.
ECF Nos. 34-36.
following reasons, the first motion to compel, ECF No. 35, is
DENIED in part and GRANTED
in part; the second motion to compel, ECF No. 36, is
DENIED as moot; and the motion to alter or
amend judgment, ECF No. 34, which seeks reconsideration of
the Court's Order denying in part Mr. Conley's motion
to amend, is GRANTED, but, after careful
reconsideration, the relief requested is
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Court assumes familiarity with the factual allegations in
this case. See Initial Review Order
(“IRO”) at 1-3, ECF No. 7. Mr. Conley filed a
Complaint on February 22, 2017. Compl., ECF No. 1. The Court
issued an Initial Review Order on May 9, 2017, which
dismissed the Complaint to the extent that it sought monetary
damages against Defendants in their official capacities or
asserted claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 and 1986.
IRO at 6; see also 28 U.S.C. 1915A(b) (requiring
Court to review prisoner civil complaints against
governmental actors and “dismiss . . . any portion of
[a] complaint [that] is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted”). Mr.
Conley's Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claims,
however, proceeded against Correctional Officers Brysgel and
Black in their official and individual capacities. IRO at 6.
August 28, 2017, Defendants filed an Answer to Mr.
Conley's Complaint with affirmative defenses. Answer, ECF
No. 17. Mr. Conley filed a response to the Answer on November
13, 2017. Resp., ECF No. 26. On November 28, 2017, Mr. Conley
filed a motion to amend the Complaint, which the Court
granted in part and denied in part. ECF Nos. 27, 31.
February 9, 2018, Mr. Conley filed a Notice to the Court on
discovery matters. Order, ECF No. 32. The Court denied the
Notice on February 21, 2018, explaining that, to the extent
that the Notice was a request for production of documents or
a motion to compel, it was improperly filed. Id. at
1. Mr. Conley then filed a motion to alter or amend the
Complaint on February 26, 2018. First Mot. to Amend, ECF No.
34. Mr. Conley filed a second motion to amend on April 10,
2018. Second Mot. to Amend, ECF No. 35.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 26(b)(1), “[i]nformation is discoverable . . . if
it is relevant to any party's claim or defense and is
proportional to the needs of the case.” Rule 26
Advisory Committee Notes to 2015 Amendments. Even after the
2015 amendments, “[r]elevance is still to be construed
broadly to encompass any matter that bears on, or that
reasonably could lead to other matter that could bear on any
party's claim or defense.” Bagley v. Yale
Univ., No. 3:13-cv-1890 (CSH), 2015 WL 8750901, at *7
(D. Conn. Dec. 14, 2015) (citing State Farm Mut.
Automobile Ins. Co. v. Fayda, No. 14-cv-9792,
2015 WL 7871037, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 12, 2015)). This Court
has “wide latitude to determine the scope of
discovery.” In Re Agent Orange Product Liability
Litig., 517 F.3d 76, 103 (2d Cir. 2008); see also
Mirra v. Jordan, No. 13-cv-5519, 2016 WL 889683, at *2
(S.D.N.Y. Feb. 23, 2016) (“Motions to compel are left
to the court's sound discretion.”). “The
objecting party bears the burden of demonstrating
specifically how, despite the broad and liberal construction
afforded [by] the federal discovery rules, each request is
not relevant or how each question is overly broad, unduly
burdensome or oppressive.” Klein v. AIG Trading
Grp. Inc., 228 F.R.D. 418, 422 (D. Conn. 2005) (internal
citations and quotation marks omitted).
prevailing party on a motion to compel is entitled to receive
“reasonable expenses incurred in making the motion,
including attorney's fees.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
37(a)(5)(A). The Court may only award fees incurred in the
making of a necessary motion. See Argo Marine Sys., Inc.
v. Camar Corp., 102 F.R.D. 280, 285 (S.D.N.Y. 1984)
(“[T]he Court must make a careful determination, based
upon its knowledge and experience of the litigation process,
of the additional expenses incurred by defendant as a direct
result of such noncompliance as is found.”); S.E.C.
v. Yorkville Advisors, LLC, No. 12-cv-7728 (GBD) (HBP),
2015 WL 855796, at *9 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 27, 2015)
(“Monetary sanctions under Rule 37(a) . . . are
intended to deter discovery abuses . . . [and] are designed
to compensate the prevailing party for expenses it would not
have incurred had the sanctioned party conducted itself
property.”) (citation and internal quotation marks
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), a party may amend its
pleading as of right within twenty-one days after serving it
or “if the pleading is one to which a responsive
pleading is required, [within] 21 days after service of a
responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a
motion” to dismiss, a motion for more definite
statement, or a motion to strike, whichever is earlier.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). “In all other cases, a party may
amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written
consent or the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). Leave to amend a complaint “shall be freely
given when justice so requires.” See Foman v.
Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962) (“In the absence
of any apparent or declared reason-such as undue delay, bad
faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated
failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously
allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of
the allowance of the amendment, futility of the amendment,
etc.-the leave should, as the rules require, be ‘freely
given.'”). “The rule in the Second Circuit
has been to allow a party to amend its pleadings in the
absence of prejudice or bad faith.” Solman v.
Corl, 3:15-cv-1610 (JCH), 2017 WL 3527693, at *1 (D.
Conn. Aug. 16, 2017) (quoting Independence Ins. Serv.
Corp. v. Hartford Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., 04-cv-1512
(JCH), 2005 WL 1038991, at *4 (D. Conn. May 3, 2005)).
Motions to Compel
first motion to compel, dated February 20, 2018, and received
for filing February 26, 2018, Mr. Conley states that on
November 18, 2017, he sent a request for production of
documents to Defendants seeking camera footage and other
documents. First Mot. to Compel at 1. Counsel for Defendants
(“Counsel”) responded to the request for
production on January 18, 2018. Id. at 3-5. One of
the requests sought camera footage of an incident that
occurred between Mr. Conley and Officer Brysgel on September
26, 2016. Id. at 4. Counsel indicated that she would
make the videotapes available for Mr. Conley to ...