United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
Jeffrey T. Gilbert United States Magistrate Judge.
motion to compel directed at the Wexford Defendants  is
denied. See attached Statement for further details.
pro se Plaintiff Charles Donelson's Fourth Amended
Complaint (Dkt. 110), filed by his former recruited counsel,
Plaintiff challenged the care he received for asthma upon his
arrival at the Illinois Department of Corrections'
Northern Reception and Classification Center
("NRC") and brought numerous claims against
Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC")
employees. Focusing on his medical care claim, Plaintiff
alleged that Nurse Hardy (a Wexford Health Sources employee
at the time) conducted an intake examination on December 30,
2013. (Id., ¶¶ 40, 48.) According to
Plaintiff, Nurse Hardy's decision that his asthma did not
call for an immediate appointment with a doctor or other
medical provider constitutes deliberate indifference to a
serious medical need. (Id., ¶¶ 50-51.)
Plaintiff has some issues with the Wexford Defendants'
responses to Plaintiffs fourth and final set of
interrogatories. Plaintiffs motion to compel directed at the
Wexford Defendants (Dkt. 337) and the Wexford Defendants'
response (Dkt. 340) are presently before the Court. For the
following reasons, Plaintiffs motion to compel, which also
requests sanctions based on the Wexford Defendants'
alleged discovery violations, is denied.
Plaintiff appears to be asserting that the Wexford Defendants
did not respond to interrogatories and production requests
that he attached to his motion to compel. (Dkt. 337, pgs.
16-21.) Those discovery requests appear to have been signed
on July 28, 2017 (three days before the close of discovery).
(Dkt. 337, pg. 22.) During a lengthy status hearing held on
July 18, 2017, the Court explained to Plaintiff that
discovery needed to be served in time to be
completed by the discovery close date; Plaintiff
said he understood this limitation. The discovery attached to
Plaintiffs motion to compel was not served timely because it
was not served at least 30 days before the discovery close
date. In any event, to the extent some of that discovery
overlaps with Plaintiffs timely served fourth set of
interrogatories to the Wexford Defendants, the Court will
deal with those discovery requests in this Order. To the
extent that some of Plaintiffs newly-served discovery
requests are directed to the IDOC Defendants, they also are
addition, during the status hearing on July 18, 2017
(see Dkt. 333), the Court gave Plaintiff ample
opportunity to identify any outstanding discovery to which
Defendants had not yet responded or any issues he had with
any pending discovery. Plaintiff has not been shy about
raising issues he has with Defendants' discovery
responses during periodic status hearings. Plaintiff voiced
concerns about the Wexford Defendants' then-outstanding
responses to his recently served fourth set of
interrogatories which are the subject of his present motion
to compel. He did not mention the additional
discovery requests attached to his current motion to compel,
or that he intended to serve more written discovery when the
Court outlined the requirement that discovery be served in
time to be completed before the discovery close date.
Plaintiffs objection to the fact that the Wexford Defendants
renumbered their responses to his various sets of
interrogatories sequentially so each set did not begin with
"one" is frivolous. The Court agrees with the
Wexford Defendants that their numbering convention makes it
easier to address Plaintiffs objections to each wave of
discovery. In addition, the numbering convention does not
affect the substance of the responses.
with respect to interrogatory 31, which inquires about the
protocol used to screen new asthmatic inmates, Plaintiff
contends that Nurse Hardy "falsified a record with a
peak flow number" and says "[t]here is no
indication that [his] lungs were listened to." (Dkt.
337, ¶ 6.) He thus concludes that the Wexford
Defendants' response, which provides information about
the intake process for asthmatic inmates, is deficient. The
Court does not agree. Plaintiffs contention goes to the
merits of his claims; it does not demonstrate that the
Wexford Defendants failed to answer the question he asked.
in interrogatory 32, Plaintiff asked about the "primary
course of treatment" for new asthmatic inmates who
arrive with "such history." (Dkt. 337, ¶ 7.)
He characterizes Wexford's response (essentially, that
each inmate receives individualized care) as "elusive
and evasive." (Id.) Again, Plaintiffs
dissatisfaction with the content of their response does not
mean the Wexford Defendants failed to provide required
information. In addition, to the extent that Plaintiff was
inquiring generally about the intake process, the Court
directs his attention to the Wexford Defendants' response
to interrogatory 31.
in interrogatory 33, Plaintiff asked for the name of the
intake doctor at the NRC on December 30, 2013. Over
objection, Wexford answered that there is no designated
"intake doctor" because if a nurse performing an
intake screening determines that an inmate needs immediate
medical attention, the inmate then is scheduled to see a
doctor or physician who is on duty at that time. The Wexford
Defendants provided an adequate answer. They explained why
they cannot identify the "intake doctor" as
Plaintiff requested - because there is no "intake
doctor" per se. Relatedly, Plaintiff contends that the
Wexford Defendants' response is inconsistent with the
Wexford Defendants' Rule 26(a)(1) disclosure of Nurse
Hardy and Dr. Obaisi as individuals who may have knowledge or
facts that support their defenses (Dkt. 242). But the Wexford
Defendants assert that Nurse Hardy examined Plaintiff on
December 30, 2013, and that Dr. Obaisi was Plaintiffs primary
care physician and the medical director at Stateville, and
this is entirely consistent with their response to Plaintiffs
interrogatory no. 33. Finally, Plaintiff contends that
"the record show a doctor name I can't make out but
there was a Doctor there, I ask who was the doctor."
(Dkt. 337, ¶ 8.) At the Court's direction, the
Wexford Defendants filed the discovery responses provided to
Plaintiff under seal. (Dkt. 320.) To the extent that
Plaintiff is referring to his medical records from December
30, 2013, Nurse Hardy's intake note, which is also
attached to the Wexford Defendants' response as Dkt.
340-1, is the only record from that date. Thus, this portion
of Plaintiff s motion is denied.
with respect to interrogatory 34, Plaintiff asserts,
"Defendant was ask is medication temporary or long term
order said it does not make no difference." (Dkt. 337,
¶ 9.) This is not an objection and, if it is intended to
be one, it is overruled because it does not appear to have a
proper basis. The Court, however, directs Plaintiff to the
Wexford Defendants' response to his motion to compel.
(Dkt. 340, pg. 8.) The Wexford Defendants construed this
portion of Plaintiff s motion as an inquiry about how an
inmate's length of stay at the NRC affects medical
prescription orders and stated that medical providers do not
know how long an inmate will be at the NRC before
transferring out so the length of a stay does not affect the
medical care they receive. (Dkt. 340, Pg-8.)
interrogatory 25 asks if there was an inhaler shortage when
Plaintiff was at the NRC, Pontiac, and Stateville. (Dkt. 337,
¶ 10.) Given that Plaintiffs Fourth Amended Complaint is
based on medical care he received at the NRC, the Wexford
Defendants' objection to the breadth of this
interrogatory is well-taken. They also responded on the
merits by stating that there was no identified shortage of
inhalers at the NRC when Plaintiff was housed there. This is
the only part of Plaintiffs interrogatory that calls for
relevant information so this portion of Plaintiff s motion is
in interrogatory 36, Plaintiff asked why Dr. Martija, a
Stateville physician, discontinued his inhaler "without
even seeing [him]." (Dkt. 337, ¶ 11.) The Wexford
Defendants objected, explaining that Dr. Martija treated
Plaintiff well after his time at the NRC but also noted, over
objection, that Plaintiffs medical records reflect that Dr.
Martija in fact examined Plaintiff. Because Plaintiff appears
to be focusing on treatment received well after the relevant
time period, this portion of Plaintiff s motion is denied.
in interrogatory 37, Plaintiff asked if Wexford has a policy
of discontinuing inhalers for asthmatic inmates. (Dkt. 337,
¶ 12.) Over objection, Wexford answered that its policy
is to provide adequate medical care to inmates according to
community standards of medical care so "sometimes an
inhaler is ordered; sometimes the inhaler is discontinued;
and sometimes the inhaler's dosage is increased or
decreased." (Dkt. 340. pg. 10.) This answer is ...