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Durand v. Charles

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

June 30, 2017

RAYBORN J. DURAND, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTHONY G. CHARLES, M.D., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          L. Patrick Auld United States Magistrate Judge.

         This case comes before the Court for an order on Plaintiff's “Motion to Compel” (Docket Entry 31). For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant in part and deny in part the Motion to Compel.

         BACKGROUND

         Alleging that Anthony G. Charles, M.D. (the “Defendant”) committed acts and/or omissions amounting to deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in February 2013, Rayborn J. Durand (the “Plaintiff”) initiated this lawsuit in February 2016. (See Docket Entry 2 (the “Complaint”).) After the Court (per United States District Judge Loretta C. Biggs) denied Defendant's dismissal motion (see Docket Entry 25), the parties commenced discovery (see Text Order dated Jan. 30, 2017 (authorizing discovery)). In May 2017, Plaintiff moved to compel production of materials responsive to “two document requests” that “Defendant claims . . . are beyond the scope of permiss[i]ble discovery under Rule 34 of the [Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (the “Rules”)] and . . . are protected from discovery by [certain North Carolina statutes and the] . . . attorney-client privile[g]e.” (Docket Entry 31 at 1-2.)[1] Thereafter, Defendant served supplemental responses to the relevant document requests (see Docket Entry 32-2 (the “Supplement”)) and filed “Defendant's Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel” (Docket Entry 32 (“Defendant's Response”)).[2] Plaintiff did not reply to Defendant's Response. (See Docket Entries dated June 1, 2017, to present.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. Discovery Standards

         “The purpose of discovery is to provide a mechanism for making relevant information available to the litigants, ” as “[m]utual knowledge of all the relevant facts gathered by both parties is essential to proper litigation.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 advisory committee's notes, 1983 Amendment (internal quotation marks omitted). Therefore, “[u]nless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties 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 . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).[3] Relevancy “essentially involves a determination of how substantively the information requested bears on the issues to be tried.” Mills v. East Gulf Coal Preparation Co., LLC, 259 F.R.D. 118, 131 (S.D. W.Va. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). However, “[e]ven assuming that th[e] information is relevant (in the broadest sense), the simple fact that requested information is discoverable . . . does not mean that discovery must be had. On its own initiative or in response to a motion for protective order under Rule 26(c), a district court may limit [discovery] . . . .” Nicholas v. Wyndham Int'l, Inc., 373 F.3d 537, 543 (4th Cir. 2004). Indeed, “[d]istrict courts enjoy nearly unfettered discretion to control the timing and scope of discovery.” Hinkle v. City of Clarksburg, W.Va., 81 F.3d 416, 426 (4th Cir. 1996); accord Cook v. Howard, 484 F. App'x 805, 812 (4th Cir. 2012) (observing that “[d]istrict courts are afforded broad discretion with respect to discovery”).

         II. Analysis

         Plaintiff seeks to compel materials responsive to the following document production requests:

2. That Defendant provide Plaintiff with a true copy of (a) any and all documents relating to any type of risk management or other inquiry(s) pertaining to Plaintiff's care at the U. N.C. Medical Center [(the “Care Request”).]
. . . .
3. That Defendant provide Plaintiff with a true copy of: (a) any and all documents pertaining to the N.C. Medical Board inquiry initiated by Plaintiff [(the “Inquiry Request”)].

(Docket Entry 32-2 at 1-2; accord Docket Entry 31 at 1.) As relevant to the Motion to Compel, the ...


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