United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
District Judge Robert J. Shelby
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
M. WARNER, Chief United States Magistrate Judge
Robert J. Shelby referred this case to Chief Magistrate Judge
Paul M. Warner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A). Defendants Officer Timothy Stumm, Officer
Kevin Stayner, and the Salt Lake City Corporation
(collectively “Defendants”) have filed a Rule 37
Short Form Discovery Motion seeking to compel Plaintiff Don
Emery (“Mr. Emery”) to disclose certain medical
records. Having reviewed the parties' briefs
and the relevant law, the court renders the following
Memorandum Decision and Order.
Emery's complaint alleges that Defendants used excessive
force during a routine traffic stop. The parties dispute Mr.
Emery's conduct during the traffic stop. Defendants claim
that Mr. Emery was combative and failed to comply with the
officer's commands. As a result, Defendants argue that
they were required to use reasonable force to handcuff Mr.
Emery. Conversely, Mr. Emery claims that he suffers from
physical ailments that will demonstrate he could not have
resisted arrest or behaved combatively as the Defendants
January 25, 2016, the court entered an Amended Scheduling
Order. In the Amended Scheduling Order, the
parties stipulated to bifurcate discovery. Specifically, the
parties agreed to “initially conduct discovery on the
issues of liability and claims of immunity, following which
the parties will request further discovery on the issue of
motion to compel surrounds Mr. Emery's refusal to provide
Defendants the medical records Mr. Emery claims will
demonstrate that his physical conditions prevented him from
acting in the combative manner alleged by Defendants.
Specifically, Defendants served discovery requests on Mr.
Emery seeking “information identifying the medical
conditions he contends are relevant to establishing liability
in this action, why those medical conditions are relevant to
establishing liability, and the names of health care
providers that have treated Mr. Emery for those
conditions.” Defendants also requested that Mr. Emery
sign a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(“HIPAA”) release so that the Defendants can
obtain Mr. Emery's medical records. In response,
Mr. Emery argues, in part, that Defendants' discovery
requests “primarily go to damages issues” and are
“not relevant to the liability phase” of this
to Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
“[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case .
. . .” Relevant information “need not be
admissible in evidence to be discoverable.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). “[T]he scope of discovery under
the federal rules is broad” and “discovery is not
limited to issues raised by the pleadings, for discovery . .
. is designed to help define and clarify the issues.”
Gomez v. Martin Marietta Corp., 50 F.3d 1511, 1520
(10th Cir. 1995) (quoting Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v.
Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351 (1978)). However,
“[t]he court may, for good cause, issue an order to
protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment,
oppression, or undue burden or expense, ” by
“forbidding inquiry into certain matters, or limiting
the scope of disclosure or discovery to certain matters . . .
.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1); see also DUCivR
these standards in mind, Defendants' motion to compel is
granted. Mr. Emery has put his physical condition at the time
of the traffic stop at issue. Accordingly, Mr. Emery is
ordered to produce any information relating to the medical
conditions he claims to have been suffering during the
traffic stop. If Mr. Emery fails to disclose relevant medical
evidence, he will be precluded from utilizing such evidence
at trial. Additionally, Mr. Emery's counsel should work
with Defense counsel to find a mutually agreeable HIPAA
release to allow Defendants to lawfully obtain Mr.
Emery's relevant medical records. Moreover,
Defendants' counter expert deadline is extended to May 8,
2017, to accommodate any scheduling delays caused by this
on the forgoing, Defendants' Rule 37 Short Form Discovery
Motion is GRANTED consistent with this
order. IT IS SO ORDERED.