United States District Court, D. Kansas
OTIS L. BRADLEY, JR., Deceased, by and Through TIMOTHY KING, Special Administrator, and LaTASHA BRADLEY, Heir of Decedent, Plaintiffs,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DR. KRISTINE AULEPP, AMBER MCCAFFERTY, DR. JASON CLARK, JASON TROLL, JUSTIN ALEXANDER, CLAUDE MAYE, JANE DOE & JOHN DOE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. Rushfelt U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Bradley, Jr., by and through Timothy King, the special
administrator of his estate, and LaTasha Bradley, Mr.
Bradley's wife and heir, bring this action against the
United States of America, Dr. Kristine Aulepp, Amber
McCafferty, Dr. Jason Clark, Jason Troll, Justin Alexander,
Claude Maye, and two Jane and John Doe Defendants following
the death of Mr. Bradley, a former inmate at the United
States Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas (“USP
Leavenworth”). Plaintiffs assert the following claims
in their Amended Complaint (ECF 8): (1) Bivens claim
for violations of rights under the United States
Constitution; (2) wrongful death pursuant to the Federal Tort
Claims Act (“FTCA”); (3) survival claim for
personal injuries pursuant to the FTCA; and (4) breach of
duty to provide reasonable care pursuant to the FTCA. This
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion to
Expedite Discovery (ECF 3). The motion is fully briefed and
the Court is prepared to rule. For the reasons stated below,
the Court denies Plaintiffs' motion.
following factual allegations are taken from Plaintiffs'
Amended Complaint. Mr. Bradley was incarcerated at USP
Leavenworth from mid-2014 until early 2015, pursuant to his
conviction as a felon in possession of a firearm. Defendant
Dr. Kristine Aulepp performed an initial health screening on
Mr. Bradley on May 21, 2014, which showed no signs of illness
or disease. David Campbell, ARNP, completed Mr. Bradley's
physical on June 3, 2014, which also showed no chronic health
issues. Mr. Bradley was placed in solitary confinement, or
“SHU, ” in early December 2014, following an
altercation with a corrections officer. On December 15, 2014,
Mr. Bradley collapsed in his cell. He was transferred to St.
Luke's Cushing Hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he
presented with abdominal pain, facial and hand numbness,
drooling, and eye twitching. Mr. Bradley had abnormal lab
results. Dr. Chrstopher Warholic noted: “Discuss with
jail medical need for further evaluation such as neurology
evaluation or possible need for holter monitor.” Mr.
Bradley was transported back to USP Leavenworth on December
16, 2014. In a follow-up appointment Dr. Aulepp noted
“no further intervention needed.” Mr.
Bradley's physical condition continued to deteriorate
throughout December 2014, with no further evaluation or
intervention by Dr. Aulepp or any other USP Leavenworth
medical personnel or corrections workers. Additionally, from
December 2014 through January 11, 2015, Mr. Bradley had
contact with Defendants McCafferty, Dr. Clark, Troll,
Alexander, and Maye. Plaintiffs allege these Defendants did
nothing to address his medical condition observed during the
December 2014 hospitalization.
Bradley continued to experience medical issues in early
January 2015. He reported to the prison medical clinic on
January 11, 2015, exhibiting blood in his vomit and extreme
pain in his abdomen. He was again transported to St.
Luke's Cushing Hospital that same day. As of January 11,
2015, Mr. Bradley had been ill for nearly a month. He had
lost 20 pounds in the past month, had not had a bowel
movement for more than a week, and had been nauseous for many
days. He was diagnosed with gallstones, pancreatitis, and
January 12, 2015, Mr. Bradley was transferred to St.
Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, where he
remained until his death from pancreatitis on February 6,
2015. Mr. Bradley's family was notified on February 4,
2015, that he was on life support and they needed to come to
St. Luke's Hospital to “make decisions.”
Until this time, Mr. Bradley's family had no knowledge
that he was ill. Plaintiffs allege Defendants did not provide
Mr. Bradley with reasonable or competent care until he was
repeatedly vomiting blood on January 11, 2015.
his death, Mr. Bradley's estate was opened on May 20,
2015. Medical records were requested from the treating
hospital immediately following the opening of the estate, but
the hospital did not provide these records to counsel for
more than three months. Plaintiffs' counsel filed a
Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request on
August 24, 2015, attempting to obtain prison records relevant
to the investigation into Mr. Bradley's death. Counsel
for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”)
responded that the request was “complicated” and
could take up to nine months to process. Plaintiffs contend
that their counsel called and asked that the request be
expedited, while Defendants assert that Plaintiffs'
counsel did not request that the FOIA request be
responded to Plaintiffs' FOIA request on December 9,
2015, by providing responsive records. Included in these
records were 299 pages of documents released in full and
eighteen pages released with some redactions. The BOP
withheld 29 pages of documents in their entirety. The BOP
maintains that only documents containing protected
third-party information were redacted, and that
Plaintiffs' counsel received the majority of documents
related to Mr. Bradley, including his Inmate Central File,
his Medical File, and his Psychology File. Plaintiffs
maintain that while some of these documents were helpful,
Plaintiffs had already received many of them from St.
Luke's Hospital, and others did not specifically address
the issues involved in this case.
12, 2016, Plaintiffs' counsel filed an administrative
demand under the FTCA, and served the demand on the BOP. The
180-day deadline for the BOP to investigate the claim expired
on November 22, 2016 without any documents being provided to
Plaintiffs or Plaintiffs' counsel as part of the
investigation into the demand.
filed this lawsuit on December 15, 2016. In an effort to
proceed with their Bivens claim and identify
potential defendants relevant to this claim, Plaintiffs
served BOP counsel with a series of interrogatories and
requests for production. Plaintiffs' discovery requests
sought information regarding corrections officers, medical
staff, and other employees who interacted with Mr. Bradley,
information concerning inmates located in cell blocks near
Mr. Bradley, information regarding USP Leavenworth medical
clinic staff, and documents related to Mr. Bradley's
medical requests, treatments, and interactions with USP
Leavenworth correctional workers and medical
personnel. Defendants did not respond to
Plaintiffs' discovery requests. Plaintiffs filed the
instant motion on December 28, 2016.
February 6, 2017, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint.
Using information from the documents produced in response to
the FOIA request, Plaintiffs added five Defendants to this
move the Court for an order to expedite discovery of the
requested information, as discussed above. Generally,
“[a] party may not seek discovery from any source
before the parties have conferred as required by [Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure] 26(f), except in a proceeding
exempted from initial disclosure under Rule 26(a)(1)(B), or
when authorized by these rules, by stipulation, or by court
order.” This is not a proceeding exempted from
initial disclosure and the parties have not stipulated to
early discovery. ...