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Goldmann v. Mehlhoff

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 16, 2018

STEVEN JACOB GOLDMANN, Plaintiff,
v.
JANELL MEHLHOFF, CNP, Medical Provider Sherburne Co.; DIANA VANDERBEEK, RN CCHP-RN, Sherburne County Sheriff's Department; BRIAN FRANK, Jail Administrator; THOMAS ZERWAS, Jail Captain; JOEL L. BROTT, Sheriff Sherburne County; and PAT CARR, Jail Commander; Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KATHERINE MENENDEZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Steven Jacob Goldmann filed this action pro se, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on September 6, 2017. Generally, Mr. Goldmann alleges that while he was confined at the Sherburne County Jail, the defendants violated his constitutional rights by unlawfully discontinuing his prescribed medication to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder related to combat injuries. [Compl., ECF No. 1.]

         BACKGROUND

         Since he filed his complaint, Mr. Goldmann's participation in the litigation has been minimal. On October 12, 2017, Mr. Goldman notified the Court that his address had changed. [ECF No. 11.] On November 3, 2017, his application for permission to file electronically was granted by the Clerk's Office. [ECF No. 15.] And Mr. Goldmann participated in a Rule 26(f) planning meeting on January 18, 2018, which led to the filing of a Rule 26(f) Report on February 1, 2018. [ECF No. 23.] However, Mr. Goldmann did not participate in the Court's February 13, 2018 pretrial conference, and the Court informed the parties that it would hold a telephonic status conference 60 days later. [Mins. (Feb. 13, 2018), ECF No. 26.]

         On March 12, 2018, Defendants Janell Mehlhoff and Diana Vanderbeek (“the Medical Defendants”) filed a motion to compel discovery. [ECF No. 28.] Mr. Goldmann did not file any response to the motion, but he did email counsel for the Medical Defendants one time shortly after their motion was filed. [ECF No. 34.] He asked counsel to forward release forms to him again that would allow them to obtain relevant information about his medical condition. [ECF No. 34.] However, Mr. Goldmann never returned an executed release and he had no further contact with counsel for any defendants.

         On April 10, 2018, the Court denied the Medical Defendants' motion to compel without prejudice because they had not shown that their informal requests for discovery were served pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [Order (Apr. 10, 2018) at 2-4, ECF No. 33.] However, the Court commented on

Mr. Goldmann is advised that his participation is required for this case to move forward, and the Court encourages him to execute the release for provided to him by defense counsel as soon as possible so that his claims have a chance to be decided on their merits. If he does not, the Defendants will almost certainly make the same request in connection with serving requests for production under Rule 34. If Mr. Goldmann fails to sign such a release or produce the documents himself, Ms. Mehlhoff and Ms. VanDerBeek may be forced to renew their motion to compel, and any failure to comply with an order that grants such a motion could potentially carry with it sanctions that would prevent Mr. Goldmann from having his claims decided on their merits.

[Id. at 4-5.]

         On April 17, 2018, the Court held a telephonic status conference, and “[o]nce again, Mr. Goldmann failed to participate.” [Mins. (Apr. 17, 2018), ECF No. 35.] Again the Court warned Mr. Goldmann of the consequences of his failure to participate in the case: “Mr. Goldmann is advised that his continued failure to appear at court proceedings, either in person or telephonic, could ultimately lead to the dismissal of his case.” [Id.]

         On April 23, 2018, the defendants Brian Frank, Thomas Zerwas, Joel L. Brott, and Pat Carr (“the County Defendants”) filed a motion to compel discovery. [ECF No. 36.] The County Defendants' motion shows that Mr. Goldmann failed to serve his Rule 26(a)(1) disclosures as required by the Rules and the Scheduling Order. The motion to compel also demonstrates that Mr. Goldmann failed to serve answers to interrogatories and requests for production as required by Rules 33 and 34. Mr. Goldmann did not respond to deficiency letters sent by the County Defendants' counsel, nor did he participate in counsel's attempts to meet and confer regarding his failure to comply with his discovery obligations. [See Hill Aff., ECF No. 39.] He filed no response to the motion.

         The Court held a hearing on the County Defendants' motion on May 15, 2018. [Mins. (May 15, 2018), ECF No. 42.] Mr. Goldmann did not appear for the hearing. [Id.]

         DISCUSSION

         Mr. Goldmann's non-appearance for the May 15, 2018 hearing on the County Defendants' motion to compel marks the third time in the relatively short life of this case that he has failed to participate in a Court proceeding. The record also demonstrates that Mr. Goldmann has not responded to properly served discovery requests from the County Defendants, failed to respond to correspondence concerning that discovery, and has not complied with his obligation to serve initial disclosures. For these reasons, the Court finds that Mr. Goldmann has, at a minimum, failed to prosecute his case, and possibly abandoned the action altogether.

         Rule ...


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