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Messa v. Woods

June 12, 2008

RAFAEL MESSA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
R.K. WOODS, SUPERINTENDENT, UPSTATE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David E. Peebles U.S. Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Presently before the Court is a motion to compel discovery filed by Rafael Messa ("Messa" or "Plaintiff") pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 37. Dkt. No. 27.

A. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed this action on March 23, 2007. Dkt. No. 1. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges causes of action based upon use of excessive force, denial of medical care, the recording of false statements, and failure to properly document Plaintiff's injuries in his medical records. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Woods, the Superintendent of the Upstate Correctional Facility ("Upstate"), supported and condoned the use of force and the recording of false statements. The claims arise from two events occurring on September 14, 2005 and September 15, 2005 at Upstate. Id. Defendants answered the complaint on June 8, 2007. Dkt. No. 17.

B. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY

Plaintiff filed his motion to compel discovery on April 7, 2008. Dkt. No. 27. Plaintiff's motion addresses request for production of documents served on November 29, 2007, and interrogatories that were served on December 4, 2007 and February 8, 2008. On April 10, 2008 the Court granted Defendants an extension of time to respond to the motion to compel. Dkt. No. 29. Defendants filed their response to the motion on May 8, 2008. Dkt. No. 32.

1. Standard to Be Applied

The scope of permissible discovery in a civil action pending in a federal district court is defined, in the first instance, by rule which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense--including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons who know of any discoverable matter. For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

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).

2. Plaintiff's Document Demands

In his motion, Plaintiff takes issue with Defendants' response to document demands 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Dkt. No. 27, Nov. 29, 2007 Demand to Kerwin.

Demand 2 sought the production of "all documents that contain, mention, construe, or refer to policies on correctional staff supervision, escorting of inmates at the Upstate Correctional Facility ("Upstate")." Id. Defendants objected to this demand as "over-broad and as unduly burdensome since it is unlimited as to time. Dkt. No. 32, Ex. A. In Plaintiff's January 18, 2008 letter to Defendants' counsel, Plaintiff stated "To clarify and/or minimize this request, what was the policy on September 15, 2005 in regards to correctional staff supervision for the ...


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