United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Martin James Sharpe, #200480, a/k/a James Martin Sharpe, a/k/a James Sharpe, Plaintiff,
South Carolina Department of Corrections, SCDC; Dr. William Akerman, SCDC Dental Director; Dwight D. McMillian, Broad River CI; Dr. Joseph Ubah, Dentist Lee CI; McClary, Dental Assistant, Lee CI; Gregg, Dental Assistant, Broad River CI, Defendants.
THOMAS E. ROGERS, III, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the court on Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (doc. # 80), Motion to Amend his Motion to Compel (doc. #110), and Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Defendant McMillan's Motion for Summary Judgment (104). (Docs. #80, #104, #110). Defendants have filed Responses in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motions.
Plaintiff's Motion to Compel
In his Motion to Compel, Plaintiff seeks an order compelling the production of certain documents from Defendants SCDC, Akerman, Ubah, McClary, and Gregg (hereinafter "Defendants"). He asserts that the Defendants provided incomplete responses to his Requests to Produce (Requests). Specifically, Plaintiff argues that Defendants did not completely respond to his Request for Production Nos. 1-6. Defendants filed a response in opposition asserting that they have responded appropriately to his requests. The court will address each disputed request in turn.
Plaintiff's Request for Production of documents to Defendants and their responses are as follows:
Request No. 1. A copy of all dental x-rays/radiographs contained in Plaintiff's dental records to especially include the x-rays taken at the following dental appointments: two x-rays taken on October 28, 2010, of tooth 7 and tooth 4; x-rays taken of tooth 11 on January 7, 2010; x-rays of tooth 15 taken November 18, 2009; x-rays of tooth 13, taken August 9, 2012; x-rays taken of tooth 16 on both February 28, 2012, and March 14, 2013; and, a full mouth x-ray taken at the oral surgeon visit on April 16, 2013.
Response: The Defendants object to the Request on the grounds that it is overly broad, is unreasonably burdensome, oppressive and cumbersome, is irrelevant and will not lead to relevant or admissible evidence. The Defendants further object on the grounds that some of the information and documentation is privileged and confidential, is restricted and is protected by security reasons.
Without waiving the objections, Plaintiff has a copy of his SCDC dental records. The x-rays, if they exist, are not relevant to the issues raised by Plaintiff in his Complaint, and Plaintiff does not have the knowledge or the equipment necessary to interpret the x-rays. The SCDC dentists focus on the patient's presentation and complaints and make treatment decision based upon education, training and experience and upon the findings from the physical exams and tests.
In his Motion to Compel, Plaintiff asserts that these x-rays are the "linchpin" of his case because they show the severity and seriousness of Plaintiff's dental condition, the need for attention, and the fact that the Defendants knew of that need. Plaintiff asserts that he has a family member who is a dental assistant who will have her employer interpret the x-rays. Plaintiff argues that Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment alleging that Plaintiff cannot provide competent medical/dental evidence to support his claims, but the only reason he has not been able to do so is because Defendants refuse to provide the necessary discovery to allow Plaintiff to obtain expert evidence.
In response to Request No. 1 of the Motion to Compel, Defendants state that x-rays are not relevant to the issues raised by Plaintiff in his Complaint. Defendants further state that Plaintiff has a copy of the written SCDC dental records, and that the x-rays will not support Plaintiff's contention that he did not receive dental care. (#84). Defendants further assert that because of security reasons, an inmate should not be in possession of x-rays. Defendants request that if the Court orders them to produce a copy of the dental x-rays, that the court order Plaintiff to pay in advance by certified check or money order for the cost of copying the x-rays and to order Plaintiff to disclose the name and address of the dentist who is going to review the x-rays so that Defendants can mail the x-rays directly to the dentist. (Id.).
The Defendant is given five (5) days from the date of this order to inform the Plaintiff and the court the cost of copying the x-rays. Thereafter, Plaintiff shall make payment for the cost of copying no later than June 3, 2014, to Defendants' attorney and provide Defendants' attorney with the name and address of the dentist to whom he wants the x-rays sent. Within five (5) days from receipt of payment from Plaintiff, Defendants shall provide copies of the x-rays to the dentist designated by Plaintiff. Defendants shall provide Plaintiff with a copy of the correspondence to the designated dentist accompanying the x-rays, specifying and identifying the x-rays provided. If Plaintiff does not provide payment and the name and address of the designated dentist as set forth above, Request No. 1 of his Motion to Compel is denied.
In Requests Nos. 2 and 3 of the Motion to Compel, Plaintiff ...