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Wesley Health System, LLC v. Forrest County Board of Supervisors

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

May 24, 2013

WESLEY HEALTH SYSTEM, LLC., Plaintiff,
v.
FORREST COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, ET AL., Defendants.

ORDER

MICHAEL T. PARKER, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the court on the Motion [121] to Compel Discovery Responses from Defendant AAA Ambulance Service (AAA) filed by Plaintiff Wesley Health System, LLC, and the Motion [138] to Strike Improper Rebuttal filed by AAA. Having considered the submissions of the parties and the applicable law, the court finds that the Motion [121] to Compel should be granted in part and denied in part and the Motion [138] to Strike Improper Rebuttal should be denied.

I. Motion to Compel

In its Motion [121] to Compel, Wesley seeks an order from the court compelling AAA to supplement its responses to certain interrogatories and requests for production. In response to many of the disputed requests, AAA objects to producing records and information on the grounds that going so is unduly burdensome. The court is mindful of the broad nature of some of the requests.

The court must limit discovery when "the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive;" or when "the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit considering the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the parties' resources, the importance of the issues at stake in the action and the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C). Here, the claims are substantial, the need to review the information is justified, and if the number of discovery motions and disputes is any indication, the parties' resources appear to be very substantial. As set forth below, much of the burden claimed by AAA may be eased by simply producing the documents at issue as kept in the ordinary course of business for review by Wesley.

The court addresses each request at issue below:

A. Documents Pertaining to Patients Expressing a Desire to Receive Treatment at Wesley but Taken to Forrest General Hospital

Wesley's motion is granted in part and denied in part as to Request No. 2. AAA primarily disputes producing the "run reports, " claiming that a search for the relevant and/or responsive reports would be unduly burdensome. The documents requested are relevant to the claims asserted and thus are discoverable. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(i). To alleviate AAA's concerns that the request is unduly burdensome, AAA may produce the responsive documents by allowing Wesley to inspect the documents as they are kept in the usual course of business in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 34. In addition, an Agreed Confidentiality and Qualified Productive Order [70] is in place, which should address any privacy or confidentiality concerns. The responsive documents and/or inspection shall be limited in scope from September 1, 2008, to the present.[1] Unless otherwise noted, this time period applies to all discovery requests, as discussed further below.

B. Other Instances and AAA's Complaint Database

Wesley's motion is granted in part and denied in part as to the discovery requests involving this issue. The documents and information requested should be produced, limited in scope from September 1, 2008, to the present. AAA has represented that it does not maintain any electronic "complaint database" or indexed retrieval system of such complaints. Rather, it states that it has a manila folder of complaint reports. It claims it has reviewed such folder and located no responsive documents.

Regarding the "other instances" referred to by the parties, discovery requests regarding patients who allegedly expressed a desire to receive treatment at Wesley but were taken to Forrest General Hospital are addressed above. AAA may produce the responsive documents and information by allowing Wesley to inspect the documents as they are kept in the usual course of business in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 34 and 33(d).

C. Audio Recordings

Wesley's motion is granted in part and denied in part as to the discovery requests involving this issue, consistent with the reasoning set forth above under paragraph A. The responsive recordings and information shall be produced for the time period set forth in paragraph F below. AAA is not required to listen to the recordings at issue to find the requested information if AAA determines that the review of documents and/or ...


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