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Shomo v. State

January 16, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: George H. Lowe, United States Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff Jose J. Shomo, a New York State prison inmate who is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, commenced this civil rights action against various Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS") employees and employees of Correctional Medical Services ("CMS") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging deprivation of his civil rights. Plaintiff claims, inter alia, that while incarcerated at Coxsackie Correctional Facility and Mohawk Correctional Facility, he was denied adequate accommodation for his disabilities in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., as amended ("ADA"), and denied medical care in deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of his civil and/or constitutional rights. See Dkt. No. 1.

Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery. Dkt. No. 52. The State Defendants have replied in opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel. Dkt. No. 57. The CMS Defendants have also filed a response in opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel together with a Motion for a Protective Order. Dkt. No. 58. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel relates to his Request for Production of Documents and First Interrogatories dated November 4, 2005. Dkt. No. 52, Ex. 1. The CMS Defendants responded to Plaintiff's discovery requests on December 6, 2005.*fn1 Id. at Ex. 2. Their responses included objections. Id. Plaintiff has demonstrated that he made a good-faith effort to resolve these discovery matters with counsel for the CMS Defendants after receiving the CMS Defendants' responses. Id. at Ex. 3.

I. The State Defendants

The State Defendants oppose the Motion because the discovery in question was not served upon counsel for the State Defendants and does not relate to the State Defendants. Dkt. No. 57. After reviewing Plaintiff's discovery requests, it is clear that the requests relate only to the CMS Defendants. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion to Compel is denied with respect to the State Defendants.

II. The CMS Defendants

The scope of permissible discovery in a civil action pending in a federal district court is defined, in the first instance, by Rule 26(b)(1) which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Fed. R. Civ. P.") 26(b)(1). When applying this standard in a case such as this, the Court must be mindful that "actions alleging violations of § 1983 require especially generous discovery." Cox v. McClellan, 174 F.R.D. 32, 34 (W.D.N.Y. 1997) (citing Inmates of Unit 14 v. Rebideau, 102 F.R.D. 122, 128 [N.D.N.Y. 1984] [Foley, J.]). When addressing a party's resistence to discovery requests propounded by an adversary, a court must also give recognition to the precept that

[a]n objection to a document request must clearly set forth the specifics of the objection and how that objection relates to the documents being demanded. The burden is on the party resisting discovery to clarify and explain precisely why its objections are proper given the broad and liberal construction of discovery rules found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Obiajulu v. City of Rochester, Dep't of Law, 166 F.R.D. 293, 295 (W.D.N.Y. 1996) (internal citations omitted).

With these parameters in mind, the Court will review each request individually. Since the CMS Defendants have agreed to provide more limited discovery than requested by Plaintiff subject to a Protective Order (see Dkt. No. 58), the Court will simultaneously review CMS Defendants' proposals and request for a protective order together with the individual discovery requests.

A. Request 1(A)

Provide a complete list of all CMS employees who were assigned to the Coxsackie Correctional Facility Regional Medical Unit*fn2 from January, 2001 through December 2002. Provide each ...

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