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Wilson v. West Virginia Division of Corrections Wexford Medical

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division

June 12, 2019




         Pending are several motions/documents related to initial disclosures and discovery, including the following:

1. West Virginia Division of Corrections' (“DOC”) Objections to Plaintiff's Request for Documents, (ECF No. 52);
2. Plaintiff's Motion to Extend Time to File Amended Complaint, (ECF No. 56); and
3. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel, (ECF No. 57).

         The issues have been fully briefed by the parties. For the reasons that follow, the Court SUSTAINS, in part, and OVERRULES, in part, the DOC's objections and correspondingly GRANTS, in part, and DENIES, in part, Plaintiff's Motion to Compel. Furthermore, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Extend. Plaintiff shall have through and including July 5, 2019 in which to file her amended complaint.

         I. Introduction

         On April 1, 2019, Defendants were instructed to provide some preliminary disclosures to Plaintiff in order to assist her in identifying individuals she wished to add as parties to this civil action. (ECF No. 47) In addition, the parties were given deadlines in which to conduct discovery. (Id. at 4). To facilitate the production of the preliminary disclosures, Plaintiff was ordered to provide to the DOC a list “indicating the specific institutional records-such as incident reports, log books, and other reports relevant to Plaintiff's claims-that Plaintiff believes are necessary to identify parties to be joined in this litigation.” (Id. at 2). Plaintiff did submit such a list to the DOC; however, the DOC believed the list was broader in scope than that ordered by the Court and, thus, refused to produce certain materials. Accordingly, a substantial portion of the DOC's objections to Plaintiff's list is based on the contention that the list seeks information beyond that ordered by the Court.

         Having reviewed the list, the Court agrees that a portion of the requested documents exceed the scope of the specific order pertaining to the identification of potential defendants. Notwithstanding this fact, because Plaintiff was concurrently permitted to submit written discovery, the undersigned has construed requests that are beyond the scope of the order as stand-alone requests for the production of documents. For that reason, the DOC's objections to requests based solely on their relevance to the order are DENIED and each contested request is examined on its merits.

         II. Discussion

         A. Request 1

         In request 1, Plaintiff asked for documents related to a civil rights complaint she attempted to file in 2010. Plaintiff states that the draft complaint and substantiating documents were removed from her cell and never returned. She subsequently was disciplined by Lakin Correctional Center (“LCC”) for allegedly taking the complaint form and instructions from the facility's library. Defendant objected to request 1 on the basis of scope, which Plaintiff argues is a blanket objection signifying Defendant's arbitrary and capricious compliance with discovery obligations. Although Defendant also contends that request 1 fails to identify documents to be produced, it appears to the undersigned that Plaintiff wants her draft civil rights complaint and substantiating documentation returned.

         The Court notes that the incident described by Plaintiff is quite remote in time, making her need for the documents questionable. While Plaintiff claims that documents from as long as twelve years ago are relevant to show continuing retaliation and discrimination, a section 1983 case typically is designed to remedy discrete acts of retaliation and discrimination. Once a plaintiff knew or should have known of the retaliation or discrimination, the statute of limitations begins to run and is not tolled by subsequent, unrelated episodes of discrimination or retaliation. Nonetheless, because discovery has just started in this case, the Court OVERRULES the DOC's objection to this request; GRANTS Plaintiff's motion to compel; and ORDERS the DOC to provide Plaintiff, on or before June 21, 2019, with a copy of her draft 2010 civil rights complaint and supporting documentation if the DOC retains possession of these documents.

         B. ...

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