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Carpenter v. Scott

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

August 23, 2016

JERMAINE D. CARPENTER, Plaintiff,
v.
GREGG SCOTT, et al. Defendants.

          OPINION

          SUE E. MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and presently civilly committed at Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility, brought the present lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging claims for failure to protect from harm and retaliation. The matter comes before this Court for ruling on the Liberty Healthcare Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 76) and other preliminary motions filed by the parties.

         PRELIMINARY MATTERS

         Motion to Dismiss Defendant Gregg Scott (Doc. 110)

         Defendants filed a motion seeking dismissal of Defendant Gregg Scott. (Doc. 110). In the motion, Defendants state that Defendant Gregg Scott was dismissed in the Court’s Merit Review Opinion (Doc. 7), and that Plaintiff’s motion to reconsider that dismissal was denied. (Doc. 51) (Plaintiff’s motion to reconsider); (Doc. 72) (Court’s Order denying Plaintiff’s motion to reconsider). Plaintiff did not file a response to Defendants’ motion to dismiss.

         Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a court to correct “a mistake arising from oversight or omission whenever one is found” in the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(a). The Court stated in its Merit Review Opinion that Defendant Scott would be dismissed, but an order to that effect was never entered. (Doc. 7). As a result, Defendant Scott was served with this lawsuit. The Court finds that Defendant Scott should have been previously dismissed. Defendants’ motion is granted.

         Plaintiff’s Motion for Order Authorizing Release of Records (Doc. 113) and Defendants’ Motion to Join (Doc. 119)

         Plaintiff filed a Motion for Order Authorizing Release of Records seeking his clinical records for the dates relevant to this lawsuit. (Doc. 113). Defendants Caraway, Jumper, Lodge, Louck, and Reid (“Liberty Healthcare Defendants”) filed a response to Plaintiff’s motion. (Doc. 115). Defendants Clark, Erhgott, Hankins, Kunkell, Lay, Mays, Scott, Wear, and Winters (“Rushville Defendants”) filed a motion seeking leave to join in the Liberty Healthcare Defendants’ response. (Doc. 119). As the response is applicable to both sets of Defendants, the Rushville Defendants’ motion to join is granted.

         Plaintiff’s motion alleges that the documents he seeks are necessary “to make a determination whether the behavior committee documented their decisions in Plaintiff’s clinical records as required” by Illinois administrative rules. (Doc. 113 at 1). Plaintiff also seeks disclosure of the identities of those who served on the housing committee for the dates relevant to this lawsuit.

         Defendants point out in their response that discovery in this matter closed on September 15, 2015.[1] Plaintiff did not file this motion until July 15, 2016, approximately 10 months after discovery closed and nine (9) months after the Liberty Healthcare Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment. In addition, Defendants provided Plaintiff with copies of the requested Behavioral Committee documents during discovery, and Plaintiff would have access to his own mental health records.

         Plaintiff is effectively asking the Court to reopen discovery on these issues. A district court has considerable discretion in determining whether or not to reopen discovery. Flint v. City of Belvidere, 791 F.3d 764, 768 (7th Cir. 2015) (noting that discovery must have an endpoint and “district courts are entitled to-indeed they must-enforce deadlines.”). Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a district court to extend a deadline, but only where the party failed to act within a deadline “because of excusable neglect.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b)(1)(B). “Neglect is generally not excusable when a party should have acted before the deadline.” Flint, 791 F.3d at 768.

         To the extent that Plaintiff does not already have the documents he seeks in his possession, Plaintiff does not elaborate on why he failed to request the documents within the discovery period, or why he then waited more than nine (9) months after the Liberty Healthcare Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment to make this request. Plaintiff’s motion is denied.

         Rushville Defendants’ Motion for Sanctions (Doc. 99)

         Rushville Defendants filed a renewed Motion for Sanctions (Doc. 99) seeking dismissal for Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the Court’s Order (Doc. 72) entered August 18, 2015. In that Order, the Court found that Plaintiff’s answers to the Defendants’ discovery requests were insufficient and directed Plaintiff to provide more detailed answers. Plaintiff has not complied.

         In his response to the motion for sanctions, Plaintiff claims that the Defendants never re-served him with copies of the discovery requests. See (Docs. 80, 114). The Court’s Order (Doc. 72) only required the Defendants to re-serve discovery requests as it related to Defendant Clark. Whatever confusion may have existed does not excuse Plaintiff’s failure to comply with the Court’s Order.

         Therefore, Defendants’ Motion for Sanctions is granted, but the Court finds that dismissal is not appropriate at this stage. Within 14 days of this Order, Defendants shall re-serve Plaintiff with the discovery requests in dispute and file a notice of compliance with the Court indicating that they have done so. Within 30 days of being served, Plaintiff shall answer the discovery requests in a manner consistent with the Court’s previous order. Failure to do so will result in dismissal of this case. The Court will also extend the relevant deadlines as detailed below.

         Plaintiff’s Motion to Secure ...


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