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Lancaster v. Amos

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

May 16, 2013

DUSTIN PATRICK LANCASTER, Plaintiff,
v.
KAT AMOS, RORY O'CONNOR, and KLINT STANDER, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

CANDY W. DALE, Magistrate Judge.

Pending before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Reset Scheduling Order and to Amend Complaint (Motion to Amend) (Dkt. 83) and Defendant Kat Amos's Motion for Protective Order (Dkt. 85.) All parties have consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge. (Dkt. 73.) Having fully reviewed the record and the materials submitted by the parties, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, these two motions will be decided on the record before the Court. Dist. Idaho L. Rule 7.1(d)(1).

BACKGROUND

1. Alleged Facts

At the time of the facts alleged in this case, Plaintiff was an inmate in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC). On April 12, 2009, Plaintiff injured his lower left arm while playing basketball at the North Idaho Correctional Institution (NICI). (Dkt. 53, p.2.) The next day, Plaintiff had elbow surgery to repair his injured arm. ( Id. ) On May 12, 2009, Plaintiff was transferred from NICI to the Idaho State Correctional Institution (ISCI). ( Id., p.3.) Plaintiff alleges that, while he was housed at ISCI, he was examined twice by Physician Assistant Michael Takagi who referred Plaintiff to physical therapy and noted decreased range of motion in Plaintiff's arm. ( Id., pp.3-4.) In addition, on May 22, 2009, Plaintiff's surgeon sent a letter to Defendant Kat Amos, whose job as a Corizon, Inc. scheduler was to schedule prisoners' medical appointments and consultations, recommending that Plaintiff have a follow-up appointment with an orthopedic surgeon and that Plaintiff begin physical therapy. Plaintiff received no physical therapy while housed at ISCI. ( Id. )

On June 18, 2009, Plaintiff was transferred to the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC). Physician Assistant Rory O'Connor examined Plaintiff on July 6, 2009, and noted that Plaintiff's left arm had flexion contracture due to a delay in physical therapy. (Dkt. 18, p.48.) X-rays of Plaintiff's arm were taken August 6, 2009 and August 24, 2009. (Dkt. 53, p.5.) Defendant Dr. Stander examined Plaintiff on September 11, 2009, noted his frozen left elbow joint, and recommended an orthopedic consultation. ( Id. ) An orthopedic specialist, Dr. Webb, examined Plaintiff on October 7, 2009, and noted that beginning physical therapy at that point in time would not help Plaintiff's "extremely severe" arthrofibrosis of the left elbow; rather, additional surgery would be needed to repair Plaintiff's elbow. ( Id. )

Defendant Stander examined Plaintiff again on October 15, 2009, and November 17, 2009. Defendant Stander's notes indicate Plaintiff wanted to proceed with Dr. Webb's recommended surgery, but, when Dr. Stander contacted Dr. Webb, Dr. Webb recommended obtaining a second opinion from a hand specialist. ( Id., pp.5-6.) On February 21, 2010, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Lamey, a hand specialist, who recommended a CT scan be taken to develop a treatment plan. ( Id. ) After receiving the results of the CT scan, Dr. Lamey issued a final recommendation on April 21, 2010, stating that Plaintiff would not benefit from physical therapy but needed surgery to repair his elbow, and recommending that such surgery be performed when Plaintiff was no longer incarcerated to ensure adequate postoperative management and therapy. ( Id. )

2. Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed his original lawsuit pro se in December 2009 regarding the medical care he received (or lack thereof) after undergoing elbow surgery while in the custody of IDOC. (Dkt. 3.) In June 2010, the Court conducted an initial review of Plaintiff's claims and permitted Plaintiff to proceed with his Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants Amos, O'Connor, and Stander. (Dkt. 8.) The Court dismissed all claims against Defendants Reinke and Valdez, because Plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that either of these Defendants was deliberately indifferent to, or even aware of, Plaintiff's medical condition. ( Id., p.4.) Less than two weeks later, counsel for Defendant Stander filed a notice of appearance (Dkt. 10), and on November 9, 2010, Defendant Stander filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. 15.)

On June 20, 2011, the Court denied Defendant Stander's Motion for Summary Judgment and ordered the Clerk of Court to issue summonses to the United States Marshal Service to effect service upon Defendants O'Connor and Amos. (Dkt. 35.) Defendant O'Connor was served in June 2011 (Dkt. 38), but Plaintiff had a difficult time obtaining the correct address for Defendant Amos; she eventually was served in January 2012. (Dkt. 64.)

Because of the ongoing delays in serving all the Defendants, pretrial deadlines in this action ( see Dkt. 42) have been amended two different times. ( See Dkts. 46, 74). Counsel for Plaintiff appeared in this action on September 27, 2011 (Dkt. 43), and, soon after, the parties stipulated to a proposed amended scheduling order, which the Court granted on October 17, 2011. (Dkt. 46.) In that Amended Scheduling Order, the parties were to join additional parties or amend their pleadings no later than October 30, 2011.[1] ( Id., p.1.) Plaintiff next filed a Motion to File First Amended Complaint on October 29, 2011, seeking to modify Plaintiff's original pro se pleading into a more traditional format, to "streamline claims and parties" in compliance with the June 20, 2011 Memorandum Decision and Order (Dkt. 35), and to add punitive damages. (Dkt. 47, pp.1-2.) No new parties or claims were added. The Court granted Plaintiff's Motion to Amend on November 30, 2011. (Dkt. 52.)

As mentioned above, once Defendant Amos was served in this action on January 19, 2012 ( see Dkt. 64), her counsel served her initial disclosures upon Plaintiff and made the second request to amend the pretrial deadlines by moving to vacate and reset certain pretrial deadlines.[2] (Dkts. 67, 70.) Plaintiff opposed Defendant Amos's Motion to Vacate, and argued that "[g]ood cause does not exist to delay this case to the extent requested by Defendant Amos." (Dkt. 71, p.4.) Plaintiff further contended that he "had already disclosed [his] expert witnesses in accordance with the Court's scheduling order and was prepared to litigate this case on the schedule previously set by the Court." (Dkt. 71, p. 4.)

Meanwhile, on December 23, 2011, third party Corizon, Inc. filed a Motion to Quash Subpoena or, in the Alternative, for a Protective Order. (Dkt. 58.) The subpoena at issue had commanded production of various documents, including Plaintiff's medical records, Defendant Amos' employment records, complaints and practices regarding surgery and physical therapy, and various Corizon policies and procedures.

On June 13, 2012, the Court: (1) denied in part Corizon's Motion to Quash and ordered that certain records and policies, as set forth in the Order, be produced to Plaintiff by July 13, 2012; and (2) reset the pretrial deadlines in accordance with Defendant Amos' Motion to Vacate. (Dkt. 74.) The pertinent deadlines were reset as follows:

Disclosure of relevant information and documents - June 29, 2012; Completion of discovery (including lay depositions and requests for subpoenas) except expert discovery - August 24, 2012; Plaintiff's expert disclosures - September 28, 2012; Defendants' expert ...

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