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Taylor v. Consolidated Pipe & Supply Company, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

July 20, 2017

LINDA TAYLOR PLAINTIFF
v.
CONSOLIDATED PIPE & SUPPLY COMPANY, INC.; BRUCE FREEMAN DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is the defendants' motion to dismiss or for other sanctions. The matter is fully briefed and ready for review.

         I. Background

         On May 13, 2015, Linda Taylor was driving in Rankin County, Mississippi when her vehicle was struck by Bruce Freeman's truck. Freeman conceded liability at the scene. Taylor subsequently filed this personal injury suit against Freeman and his employer, Consolidated Pipe and Supply Company.

         The legal battle focused on the extent of Taylor's injuries. Taylor's complaint alleged that the accident caused “serious and permanent . . . injuries to her neck, back, right shoulder, numbness in her right arm and tingling in her fingers, along with injury to her skeletal system, muscular system, and nervous system.”

         Written discovery commenced. When asked about her medical history, Taylor wrote that she could “not remember the exact dates of treatment and/or all her complaints, ” but “has never [been] treated for neck or shoulder pain before the subject accident.” She gave the defendants written permission to obtain all of her medical records.

         The defendants' search was thorough. They obtained records from medical providers who had seen Taylor as far back as 1992. The defendants say they sent copies of these records to Taylor's attorney during the discovery period-a contested point to which we will return.

         The defendants then deposed Taylor. She was asked whether prior to the accident she had ever suffered from pain in her arm, shoulder, neck, or back. She answered “no.” Taylor was asked whether prior to the accident she had sought medical treatment for pain to her arm, shoulder, neck, or back. Again she answered “no.” Finally, Taylor was asked whether prior to the accident she had ever been prescribed psychiatric medication like Xanax. Her answer was the same: “no.”

         The defendants now contend that those answers were lies. They say, and Taylor admits, that decades of records show she had dozens of appointments for shoulder, neck, and back pain before the accident. Taylor took pain medication and received injections for shoulder, neck, and back pain; referrals to orthopedics and physical therapy followed.[1] She also took Xanax for other issues. The defendants argue that Taylor's total lack of candor warrants dismissal of her case.

         Taylor denies the allegations and counters with her own accusations. She argues that she could not remember all of her medical visits over the years, and has suffered from memory loss since the accident. Taylor adds that if anyone has committed a fraud upon the Court, it is the defendants, who allegedly withheld her medical records during discovery to ambush her with this motion.

         II. Legal Standards

         A. The Evidence

         The parties dispute whether the defendants' attorney timely shared the medical records with Taylor's attorney. Because that issue required consideration of material outside the pleadings, it “must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d); see Stokes v. Dolgencorp, Inc., 367 F. App'x 545, 547 (5th Cir. 2010) (unpublished).

         Summary judgment is appropriate when “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A party seeking to avoid summary judgment must identify admissible evidence in the record showing a fact dispute. Id. at ...


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