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McDonald v. Lauren

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

October 5, 2017



          David W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge

         The District Court has referred this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action to United States Magistrate Judge David W. Christel. Currently pending in this action are Plaintiff Steven Darby McDonald's "Request for Delay in the Case in Order to File an Amendment to the Civil Suit Including Newly Exhausted Medical Issues" ("Motion to Stay"), "Request to Resume Discovery" ("Motion for Discovery"), "Request to Expand Mandatory Discovery Order to Encompass the Defendants Protected Health Information" ("Motion to Amend"), and "Request for Defendants and Their Agents to Show Cause Why They are Prohibiting him From Exhausting All Possible Administrative Remedies to Resolve Issues" ("Motion to Show Cause"). Dkt. 32, 33, 38, 43.[1]After consideration of the pending Motions, the Court denies the Motion to Stay (Dkt. 32), denies as moot the Motion for Discovery (Dkt. 33), denies the Motion to Amend (Dkt. 38), and denies the Motion to Show Cause (Dkt. 43).

         I. Motion to Stay (Dkt. 32)

         On August 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed the Motion to Stay, requesting the Court stay this case for thirty days while he prepares an amendment to his Complaint. Dkt. 32. "A district court has discretionary power to stay proceedings in its own court under Landis v. North American Co." Lockyer v. Mir ant Corp., 398 F.3d 1098, 1109 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936)). "The power to stay a case is 'incidental to the power inherent in every court to control the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants.'" Halliwell v. A-TSols., 2014 WL 4472724, at *7 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 10, 2014) (quotingLandis, 299 U.S. at 254).

         To determine if a stay is appropriate, the Court should weigh the "competing interests which will be effected by the granting or refusal to grant a stay, " including "the possible damage which may result from the granting of a stay, the hardship or inequity which a party may suffer in being required to go forward, and the orderly course of justice measured in terms of the simplifying or complicating of issues, proof, and questions of law which could be expected to result from a stay." See Lockyer, 398 F.3d at 1110 (quoting CMAX, Inc. v. Hall, 300 F.2d 265, 268 (9th Cir. 1962)).

         Here, Plaintiff states he would like the case stayed for thirty days so he can prepare and file an amendment to his Complaint, adding newly exhausted claims. Dkt. 32. The Court finds Plaintiff has not shown he will suffer hardships or inequities if this case proceeds. There is also no evidence a stay will simplify this case. Further, it is unclear Plaintiff would be allowed to amend his Complaint at this time. As Plaintiff has not shown a stay is appropriate, the Motion to Stay (Dkt. 32) is denied.

         If Plaintiff wishes to add new claims to the Complaint, he must file a motion to amend the Complaint and attach a proposed amended complaint. The Court notes, if the motion to amend is granted, the amended complaint will replace the Complaint; it will not supplement the Complaint.

         II. Motion for Discovery (Dkt. 33)

         On August 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Discovery asking the Court to resume discovery, which was stayed while the parties attempted to mediate this case. Dkt. 33. The Court entered a Mandatory Pretrial Discovery and Scheduling Order Pursuant to Amended General Order 09-16 ("Pretrial Scheduling Order") on August 8, 2017, setting discovery deadlines. Dkt. 35. The discovery period is open and Plaintiff may proceed with discovery in compliance with the Pretrial Scheduling Order, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Court's Local Rules. Therefore, the Motion for Discovery (Dkt. 33) is denied as moot.

         III. Motion to Amend (Dkt. 38)

         Plaintiff filed the Motion to Amend on August 20, 2017, wherein he requests the Court expand the Pretrial Scheduling Order to include a requirement that Defendants disclose their protected health information within the scope of Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Dkt. 38.

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b)(4), a scheduling order may be modified for good cause and with the judge's consent. Here, Plaintiff fails to show good cause for modifying the Pretrial Scheduling Order. Plaintiff alleges Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and retaliated against him because of the content on his website. See Dkt. 4, 38. Plaintiff contends he needs Defendants' private health information to prove the statements on his website are true. See Dkt. 38, 44. Plaintiff, however, fails to show how proving the statements on his website are true correlate with proving Defendants retaliated against him. As such, Plaintiff has not shown the discovery disclosures he requests are relevant to this lawsuit and, thus, has not shown good cause for amending the Pretrial Scheduling Order. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) ("Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case[.]").

         To the extent Plaintiff is attempting to have the Court conduct discovery for him, the Court reminds Plaintiff that he may not serve discovery requests through the Court. See Local Rule 5 ("discovery requests and responses must not be filed until they are used in the proceedings or the court orders filing"); Dkt. 34. If Plaintiff wishes to conduct discovery, he must mail discovery requests to Defendants' counsel.

         In sum, the Court finds Plaintiff has failed to show good cause for amending the Pretrial Scheduling Order to require initial disclosures regarding Defendants' protected health ...

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