United States District Court, D. Nebraska
F.A. GOSSETT, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court upon two motions filed by Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. ("AWG") seeking protective orders. (Case No. 4:10-cv-03211, filing 269 & 271; Case No. 4:10-cv-03212, filing 272 & 274; Case No. 8:10cv-03191, filing 288 & 290.) AWG requests that the Court preclude Andrei Tchikobava's ("Tchikobava") attorneys from questioning AWG's corporate representative about particular subject matters during a deposition. AWG also asks that the Court strike Tchikobava's document production requests. For the reasons explained below, AWG's motions will be granted, in part.
These consolidated civil cases arise out of a motor-vehicle accident which occurred between a tractor trailer driven by Michael Scott ("Mr. Scott"), deceased, and a tractor trailer driven by Igor Kozlov ("Kozlov"). At the time of the accident, Mr. Scott was working for AWG. Andrei Tchikobava ("Tchikobava") was a passenger in the tractor driven by Kozlov. Tchikobava filed suit against Mr. Scott's Estate and AWG, alleging that Mr. Scott acted negligently, thereby causing the accident. (Case No. 4:10-cv-3212, filing 104.)
On June 25, 2014, Tchikobava issued a Notice of Deposition Duces Tecum to AWG, requesting a corporate representative deposition of AWG. (Case No. 4:12-cv-3212, filing 269.) AWG objects to several of the subject matters for the deposition, and also objects to the document requests attached to the Notice. In particular, AWG objects to topics pertaining to Mr. Scott's physical condition or health. AWG also objects to questions regarding medical reports from Dr. Pro and Dr. Koprivica. As for the document requests, AWG complains that the requests are untimely as they were not made within 30 days of the deposition. AWG also argues that the requests seek irrelevant information, particularly those requests seeking documents related to shipments delivered, or scheduled to be delivered, by Mr. Scott in the year before the accident.
1. Deposition Subject Areas
A. Mr. Scott's Physical Condition & Health
With respect to anticipated areas of inquiry during the deposition, Paragraph 10 of the Notice states: "All knowledge and information concerning Scott's physical condition from the time of that [sic] he was injured in 1997, through his return to work in a diminished capacity as a non-truck driver, and up through his subsequent return to truck driving." (Case No. 4:12-cv-3212, filing 269.) AWG argues that this Paragraph is vague and overbroad because it is not limited to any specific physical issue, and is not limited to a physical condition which could affect Mr. Scott's ability to drive.
Similarly, AWG maintains that Paragraph 12 of the Notice is vague, ambiguous and overbroad. AWG also claims that the request violates the physician-patient privilege. Paragraph 12 states: "If there is a chief medical officer or similar person employed by or retained by AWG, produce that individual and all the medical information concerning Scott from January 1, 1997, through the date of his death in 2010." (Case No. 4:12-cv-3212, filing 269.) AWG complains that the request is not limited to any specific health issue and, even if the request was so limited, there is no evidence in this case that the accident was caused by any health issue on the part of Mr. Scott.
The Court previously determined that information related to the injuries Mr. Scott received in the 1997 accident is relevant to this litigation. However, in connection with specific discovery requests relating to AWG's receipt of medical records during the pendency of Mr. Scott's workers' compensation claim, the Court concluded that what AWG knew about Mr. Scott's medical condition in 1999 is irrelevant because it is not indicative of what AWG knew about Mr. Scott's health in 2006 when he was examined by a physician and re-certified to drive.
It is difficult to anticipate the exact questions which will be posed regarding these matters. Therefore, at this time, the Court will permit limited questioning in these areas. If there are objections to specific questions posed during the deposition, the Court will address those particular inquiries following the deposition. The parties are advised to keep the Court's previous rulings in mind during the deposition.
B. Medical Reports of Dr. Pro and Dr. Koprivica
Paragraph 11 of the Notice relates to medical reports prepared by Dr. Pro and Dr. Koprivica in connection with a workers' compensation claim filed by Mr. Scott in 1999. This Paragraph requests: "All knowledge and information concerning the medical reports from Dr. Pro and Dr. Koprivica as set forth in Exhibits 1 and 2, attached." (Case No. 4:12-cv-3212, filing 269.) AWG maintains that this request is vague, ambiguous and overbroad. AWG also believes that ...