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Baxter v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

September 12, 2014

TIMOTHY AARON BAXTER, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR REOPENING DISCOVERY ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS TO STRIKE MEDICAL RECORDS ORDER AFFIRMING THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S ORDER ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT ORDER GRANTING IN PART, DENYING IN PART MOTION FOR SANCTIONS OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE TO COMPEL RESPONSES ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE ORDER DENYING MOTIONS TO AMEND/CORRECT MOTION FOR REOPENING DISCOVERY

THOMAS ANDERSON, District Judge.

Before the Court are Plaintiff Timothy Aaron Baxter's Motion for Reopening Discovery (ECF No. 138) filed on June 24, 2014; Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Order Denying his Motions for Revision (ECF No. 139); Motion for Sanctions to Strike Medical Records (ECF No. 141) filed on June 27, 2014; Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint (ECF No. 143) filed on June 30, 2014; Motion for Sanctions or in the Alternative Motion to Compel Responses (ECF No. 144) filed on July 1, 2014; Motion for Order to Show Cause (ECF No. 146) filed on July 9, 2014; Motion for Revision (ECF No. 147) filed on July 16, 2014; and Motion to Amend/Correct Motion for Reopening Discovery (ECF No. 148, 149) filed on July 21 and July 28, 2014. Defendants have filed responses in opposition to the Motions. The Court's rulings on Plaintiff's Motions are set forth below.

BACKGROUND

On September 9, 2010, Plaintiff filed a pro se Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 for violations of his constitutional rights. According to the pleadings, on September 11, 2009, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary and was traveling in a truck driven by Officer Mallory. When Plaintiff complained to Officer Mallory that he was driving recklessly, Officer Mallory allegedly struck Plaintiff in the head with a radio. The Complaint alleges that Officer Mallory and Officer Robert Moffatt then began to beat Plaintiff to the ground and that Officer Moffatt struck Plaintiff with an ax handle. This case was transferred to the undersigned for all further proceedings on October 2, 2013. A trial is set for October 29, 2014.

ANALYSIS

I. Motions for Re-Opening Discovery

In his Motion for Reopening Discovery (ECF No. 138), Plaintiff seeks production of all medical records in the possession of the Tennessee Department of Corrections. According to Plaintiff, some of these records are at odds with the records of a Dr. Cobb who apparently treated Plaintiff for some of his alleged injuries in 2010. Plaintiff states that he obtained in the normal course of discovery only records covering his treatment through July 2012. Plaintiff describes the records he requests as newly discovered evidence, which is relevant to the issues for trial in this case. Defendants oppose Plaintiff's Motion because the discovery deadline passed on April 8, 2013. Defendants construe Plaintiff's description of newly discovered medical records to refer to those of Dr. Cobb from May 2010. Defendants contend that Plaintiff could have obtained Dr. Cobb's records at any time without propounding formal discovery.

The Court holds that Plaintiff has not shown good cause to re-open the discovery period. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(3) requires the Court to enter a scheduling order and set a time limit for certain events, including discovery. The final deadline for discovery set in this case was April 8, 2013. Although Rule 16(b)(4) allows for case management deadlines to be extended, the Court will extend the deadlines only for good cause. Plaintiff has failed to show any cause for re-opening discovery at this late stage of the proceedings. Therefore, Plaintiff's request to re-open discovery must be denied.

Plaintiff does mention the existence of medical records that constitute newly discovered evidence. Although Defendants understand these records to be records of Plaintiff's treating physician Dr. Cobb, it appears to the Court that Plaintiff actually seeks medical records that have come into existence since July 2012 and are under the control of the Department of Corrections. Rule 26(e) requires every party to supplement any required disclosure or discovery response whenever "additional or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to the other parties during the discovery process." Local Rule of Court 26.1(d) requires parties to supplement all discovery responses no later than 30 days prior to trial, which is set in this case for October 29, 2014. To the extent that Plaintiff is simply seeking production of "additional" medical records created since July 2012, Defendants are ordered to supplement their discovery disclosures and responses and produce all of Plaintiff's medical records dating from July 2012 to the present. Defendants' supplemental disclosures are due by September 29, 2014.

II. Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Order

In his Objections (ECF No. 139) to the Magistrate Judge's Order Denying Motions for Revision, Plaintiff requests that the Court review a determination of the Magistrate Judge. On June 12, 2014, the Magistrate Judge entered an order denying three separate motions for revision filed by Plaintiff. Plaintiff had previously raised the same issues in other motions, which the Magistrate Judge had denied and this Court had affirmed on review. The Magistrate Judge concluded that Plaintiff's motions did not set out any new facts or legal authority to support Plaintiff's request for revision or reconsideration. The Magistrate Judge construed one of Plaintiff's motions for revision as a motion to amend his complaint and name another correctional officer as a defendant. The scheduling order's deadline for amending pleadings was November 25, 2012. Plaintiff stated that he learned of the officer's identity in August 2013 but did not file a motion to add the officer as a party until March 2014. The Magistrate Judge held that Plaintiff could not demonstrate good cause for his failure to move to add the officer sooner. In Plaintiff's objections to the Magistrate Judge's decision, Plaintiff cites a number of other instances of delay in the case and argues that each example was attributable to Defendants, not himself. As such, Plaintiff asks the Court to set aside the Magistrate Judge's order.

The Court considers Plaintiff's legal objections to the Magistrate Judge's order under a contrary to law standard, [1] meaning "the Court may overturn any conclusions of law which contradict or ignore applicable precepts of law, as found in the Constitution, statutes, or case precedent."[2] While Plaintiff argues in some detail about delays in the orderly progress of his case and charges Defendants with those delays, Plaintiff has failed to acknowledge that he waited several months before raising the identify of Officer Mawby with the Court. The Court finds no error in the Magistrate Judge's holding that Plaintiff had not acted diligently to amend his pleadings sooner. The Sixth Circuit has described a party's diligence in meeting case management ...


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