United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JAMES A. HARNAGE
JANINE BRENNAN, et al.
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
plaintiff James A. Harnage (“plaintiff”) has
filed two motions to compel, seeking orders compelling
defendants Janine Brennan, Dr. Wu, and Nurse Laura
(collectively the “defendants”) to respond to
plaintiff's first and second requests for production
(collectively the “motions to compel”). [Docs.
#51, #53]. Plaintiff also requests that the Court impose
monetary sanctions as a result of defendants' failure to
respond to his written discovery requests. See generally
Id. On May 24, 2018, Judge Alvin W. Thompson
referred the motions to compel to the undersigned. [Doc.
#55]. On June 16, 2018, defendants filed an objection to the
motions to compel [Doc. #59], to which plaintiff filed a
“Rebuttal” on June 21, 2018 [Docs. #64, #65]. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS, in
part, and DENIES, in part, plaintiff's motions
to compel [Docs. #51, #53].
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. See
generally Doc. #1, Complaint. Plaintiff alleges that on or
about July 29, 2016, he was transferred from the MacDougall
Correctional Institute (“MacDougall”) to the
Corrigan Correctional Institute (“Corrigan”).
Id. at ¶9. Plaintiff alleges that “[a]t
all times herein mentioned” he was housed at Corrigan.
See Id. at ¶1.
alleges that during his incarceration he has been prescribed
a litany of medications to treat his many ailments. See
Id. at ¶¶10-11. Plaintiff alleges that the
denial of those medications causes him “significant
pain and needless suffering.” Id. at ¶12.
In particular, plaintiff alleges:
Dr. Wu, in an attempt to save money, has instituted a policy
instructing staff to minimize costs by any means including
the unreasonable and arbitrary elimination of mid-day doses
of necessary medications, reducing plaintiff from 3 times per
day down to 2 times per day without any care or concern for
the adverse effects on inmates, like Harnage.
Id. at ¶17. Plaintiff further alleges that upon
his arrival at Corrigan, each of the defendants “in a
conspiracy [illegible] with the other, began and did,
interfere with the refill and renewal of many of the
plaintiffs needed prescriptions.” Id. at
¶19 (sic). Judge Alvin W. Thompson has construed
plaintiff's complaint as bringing an action for
deliberate indifference to medical needs in violation of the
Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. See Doc.
#7, Initial Review Order.Plaintiff was transferred back to
MacDougall in June 2017. The allegations of plaintiff's
complaint relate solely to his confinement at Corrigan,
although plaintiff has filed another lawsuit with similar
allegations directed to the time he has spent incarcerated at
MacDougall. See Harnage v. Wu, No. 16CV1543(AWT) (D.
Conn. Sept. 13, 2016) (hereinafter referred to “Harnage
Motions to Compel [Docs. #51, #53]
has filed two motions to compel. The first seeks to compel
responses to plaintiff's second request for production
directed to defendant Brennan, to which plaintiff has
received no response. See Doc. #51. The second seeks to
compel responses to plaintiff's first request for
production directed to defendants Brennan, Dr. Wu, and Nurse
Laura, to which plaintiff has also received no response. See
Doc. #53. The discovery requests at issue were respectively
served on December 22, 2017, and April 12, 2017. See Doc.
#51-2 at 4; Doc. #53-2 at 9. At the time the requests were
served, discovery was scheduled to close on February 9, 2018.
See Doc. #40. Thus, the requests at issue were timely served.
26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth
the scope and limitations of permissible discovery:
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
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 this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). “[T]he burden of
demonstrating relevance is on the party seeking
discovery[.]” Mason Tenders Dist. Council of Greater
New York v. Phase Constr. Servs., Inc., 318 F.R.D.
28, 36 (S.D.N.Y. 2016). Once the party seeking discovery has
demonstrated relevance, the burden then shifts to
“[t]he party resisting discovery ... [to] show why
discovery should be denied.” Cole v. Towers Perrin
Forster & Crosby, 256 F.R.D. 79, 80 (D. Conn. 2009)
Timeliness of Motions
response to plaintiff's motions, defendants contend that
each motion is untimely and that “alone constitutes
sufficient cause to deny them.” Doc. #59 at 1.
Defendants also concede, however, that they “have not
responded to the individual production requests in this case,
” but have “provided plaintiff with vast
production [in plaintiff's other cases].”
Id. at 2.
are correct that plaintiff's motions may be deemed
untimely as they were filed after the close of discovery.
“Though Rule 37 does not establish time limits for such
a motion, a party seeking to file a motion to compel after
discovery has closed must ... establish good cause.”
Gucci Am., Inc. v. Guess?, Inc., 790 F.Supp.2d 136,
139 (S.D.N.Y. 2011); accord Casagrande v. Norm Bloom
& Son, LLC, No. 3:11CV1918(CSH), 2014 WL 5817562, at
*2 (D. Conn. Nov. 10, 2014). Plaintiff responds that he
“has not waived his right to discovery or the
enforcement motions therewith” and that he “has
done the best he can, within the confines of his confinement,
to meet his obligations to prosecute this action.” Doc.
#64 at 1. Generally, plaintiff fails to offer good cause for
the Court to consider his motions to compel at this late
stage. Thus, the Court could simply deny plaintiff's
motions as untimely. See, e.g., Richardson v. City of New
York, 326 Fed.Appx. 580, 582 (2d Cir. 2009)
(“[T]he district court did not abuse its discretion in
denying Plaintiff's motion to compel discovery, which was
filed over one month after the close of discovery, as
untimely.”); James v. United States, No.
99CV4238(BSJ)(HBP), 2003 WL 22149524, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Sept.
17, 2003) (denying motion to compel as untimely where it was
filed six months after the close of discovery and the movant
proffered no justification for the untimeliness). However, in
recognition of plaintiff's self-represented status, the
Court will review the substance of plaintiff's motions,
particularly in light of the concession that defendants have
not responded at all to plaintiff's requests for
production in this action. See Doc. #59 at 2.
Production in Plaintiff's Other Federal Lawsuits
represent that in Harnage I, “Plaintiff has been
provided copies of his medical chart” and further
assert that plaintiff will be “provided with a variety
of other records regarding his medical care[, ]”
including “copies of electronic medical records,
records from UConn Health Center, and URC records.”
Doc. #59 at 2-3. Plaintiff concedes that his “medical
cases are inter-related[, ]” but contends that he
requires “a set of copies of a majority of the
documents for use as exhibits in each separate action.”
Doc. #64 at 2.
Court will not require defendants to reproduce the discovery
already produced in Harnage I that is also responsive to the
requests for production now at issue. Requiring defendants to
reproduce thousands of pages of documents does not comply
with the spirit, or the letter, of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Indeed, as the very first Rule instructs:
“These rules ... should be construed, administered and
employed by the Court and the parties to secure the just,
speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and
proceeding.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 1. Requiring defendants to
reproduce such vast quantities of documents does not promote
the speedy or inexpensive determination of this proceeding.
Accordingly, rather than reproduce any responsive documents,
defendants may respond to plaintiff's written discovery
requests by pointing plaintiff to the Bates numbers of the
prior production which is responsive to the requests below.
To the extent that the timeframe here differs from the
documents produced in Harnage I, then defendants shall also
produce any responsive documents for that time period, as
also contends that defendants should produce a separate set
of documents in this action because of his anticipated need
for trial exhibits and his limited ability to make copies at
his correctional facility. See Doc. #64 at 2. Essentially, by
demanding that defendants reproduce all responsive documents,
plaintiff asks defendants to bear the cost of producing
copies of the production. “Under federal law, the party
responsible for production generally bears the cost.
Reproduction is not necessarily required, however. A party
need only make requested documents available for inspection
and copying; it need not pay copying costs.” Clever
View Investments, Ltd. v. Oshatz,233 F.R.D. 393, 394
(S.D.N.Y. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citations
omitted); See also 7 James Wm. Moore et al, Moore's
Federal Practice §34.14 (3d ed. 2017) (“A party
producing documents will ordinarily not be put to the expense
of making copies for the requesting party. ...