United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
L. PALK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant's Motion to Compel Plaintiff's
Counseling and Mental Health Records [Doc. No. 19]. The
motion is at issue. See Resp., Doc. No. 26.
Plaintiff's Second Amended Petition, Plaintiff, while a
minor, was removed from her home by the City of Edmond's
police department in September 2015. Plaintiff was taken to
Defendant's Community Intervention Center, which was a
youth-specific 24hour holding facility operated (at the time)
by Defendant pursuant to a contract with the Oklahoma Office
of Juvenile Affairs. While at the Center, Plaintiff was raped
by Defendant's employee. The employee later pleaded
guilty to a criminal charge in state court. Plaintiff sued
Defendant, and Plaintiff's sole remaining claim against
Defendant is one made pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
asserts violations of her due process and equal protection
rights via § 1983. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant “[f]ail[ed] to enact and implement adequate
policies concerning sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse
of adolescents in its facility, ” “[f]ail[ed] to
remove [the employee at fault] from its facility, ”
“[f]ail[ed] to prevent adolescents from being alone
with [the employee], ” “[f]ail[ed] to investigate
[the employee] properly, before and after these referenced
allegations, ” “[f]ail[ed] to hire, train,
supervise, and retain [the employee] properly, ”
“[f]ail[ed] to adequately train and supervise . . . its
staff and employees, ” and “[e]xhibit[ed]
deliberate indifference to the sexual misconduct directed at
Plaintiff.” Second Am. Pet. ¶ 17, Doc. No. 2-13.
Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant had unconstitutional
customs or policies of “[f]ailing to investigate
criminal misconduct, ” “[d]iscounting the
credibility of adolescent[s'] allegations, ” and
“[f]ailing to adequately train and supervise employees
with regard to the investigation and reporting of sexual
abuse of adolescents.” Id. ¶ 18.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's actions and omissions
caused her to “suffer severe emotional distress
and/or psychological damage and/or significant pain and
suffering and/or personal humiliation.” Id.
¶ 32. She seeks “[c]ompensatory damages [for her]
physical damages as well as [for] psychological and emotional
distress.” Id. ¶ 52(a).
asks the Court to compel Plaintiff to answer two
interrogatories to which she objected. One interrogatory
asked for “[identifying information for] every health
care provider providing an assessment, care, and/or treatment
(including state agency) to [Plaintiff] for any physical
injuries, mental anguish, emotional distress, and/or mental
disability allegedly resulting from Defendant's acts or
omissions that are the subject matter of this
litigation.” Def.'s Interrog. No. 7, Doc. No. 19-1.
Another interrogatory asked for the same information, but for
the past ten years instead of in relation only to the
incident at issue in this lawsuit. See Id. at
Interrog. No. 8. As to the latter, broader, interrogatory,
Defendant only asks the Court to compel identification of
“mental health professionals who have provided medical
or counseling services regarding the incident at issue and
any treatment received thereafter.” Mot. 7, Doc. No.
19. Plaintiff objects to both interrogatories based on lack
also seeks Plaintiff's execution of authorizations for
the release of her health information and records by three
mental health care providers identified by Plaintiff in her
deposition, as well as any additional providers identified by
Plaintiff in response to the above-indicated interrogatories.
See Email from Jessica Dark to Cameron Spralding
(June 14, 2019, 11:11 AM), Doc. No. 19-3; see also
Resp. 2-3, Doc. No. 26 (indicating that Defendant requested
medical authorizations from Plaintiff as part of
Defendant's Request for Production No. 11). Plaintiff again
objects based on lack of relevance.
Relevant discovery standard
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) applies to
Plaintiff's motion, and it provides in relevant part:
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, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
“When requested discovery appears relevant, the party
objecting to production has the burden of establishing the
lack of relevance by demonstrating that the request falls
outside the scope set forth in Rule 26(b)(1), or that the
requested discovery is of such marginal relevance that the
potential harm occasioned by discovery would outweigh the
ordinary presumption in favor of broad disclosure.”
Shotts v. Geico Gen. Ins. Co., No. CIV-16-1266-R,
2017 WL 4681797, at *1 (W.D. Okla. Oct. 17, 2017) (citation
Discussion and analysis
Plaintiff makes two arguments in opposition to
Defendant's motion. First, Plaintiff asserts that
Defendant cannot ask the Court to compel additional answers
and responses to the discovery requests at issue because the
requests were made by Defendant and responded to by Plaintiff
in state court before this case was removed to this Court.
Plaintiff relies on Local Civil Rule 81.2(c), which states
that “[i]n the absence of a contrary stipulation or
court order” (neither of which is in play here),
“discovery pending in state court at the time of
removal is considered void.” Plaintiff's mistake is
that there was no discovery “pending”-i.e.,
propounded by one party and not yet objected or responded to
by the other party-at the time of removal because Plaintiff
had already issued her answers and responses to
Defendant's requests at the time of removal. L. Cv. R.
81.2(c). The Court therefore finds this local rule not to be
applicable in this scenario. Defendant's pre-removal
discovery requests to Plaintiff, as well as Plaintiff's
pre-removal responses thereto, are not void.
Plaintiff argues that the information and medical
authorizations requested by Defendant are not relevant to
this case because “[a]sserting a claim for pain,
suffering or mental anguish does not inject . . .
Plaintiff's physical or mental condition into the case or
permit Defendant to discover Plaintiff's medical,
counseling and psychological records.” Resp. 4, Doc.
No. 26. Plaintiff continues by asserting that she has not
waived any privileges she has with her health care providers
“simply because [she] state[d] a claim for mental pain,
suffering, or anguish associated with Plaintiff's
personal injuries sustained in the subject incident”
because her alleged injuries are based in
“[g]eneric claims for mental anguish or
suffering . ...