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Tolston v. Charles Drew Health Center, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

June 30, 2017

MONIQUE TOLSTON, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLES DREW HEALTH CENTER, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          F.A. Gossett, III United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on the Motion to Compel Answers to Written Discovery (Filing No. 49) filed by Defendant, Charles Drew Health Center, Inc., and the Motion to Compel Written Discovery (Filing No. 50) and Motion to Compel Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition (Filing No. 53) filed by Plaintiff, Monique Tolston.

         BACKGROUND

         This action concerns Plaintiff's allegations that Defendant terminated her employment in violation of federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex and retaliation. Plaintiff also seeks unpaid wages under the Nebraska Wage Payment and Collections Act.

         Plaintiff worked as a family practice physician for Defendant from 2008 until her termination on August 7, 2015. Plaintiff alleges that in November 2014, she reported an unlawful medical practice to Defendant's Medical Director, Gregory Ochuba, and as a result, in December 2014, she was reprimanded for her report and received a performance evaluation rating her performance below satisfactory in several categories. (Filing No. 12 at pp. 3-5). Plaintiff alleges in August 2015 she was terminated without notice in contravention of her employment agreement. Plaintiff alleges Defendant's proffered reasons for her termination, including tardiness, unexcused absences, history of failure to participate in mandatory meetings, unacceptable and unprofessional behavior, failure to meet productivity goals, and patient complaints, were pretext for gender discrimination and retaliation. (Filing No. 51-4; Filing No. 51-5 at p. 3).

         The parties have filed the instant motions to compel disclosure of certain written discovery and further depositions. Defendant represents to the Court that it filed its motion to preserve its rights; Defendant states that Plaintiff's counsel previously agreed to produce certain supplemental answers to interrogatories and production of documents, but has not yet done so. (Filing No. 49). Plaintiff did not oppose Defendant's motion and requests an additional 14-days to produce any additional responsive documents. (Filing No. 72). Therefore, the Court will grant Defendant's Motion and order Plaintiff to supplement the outstanding discovery requests within 14-days of this order, assuming she has not already done so.

         Remaining before the Court are Plaintiff's discovery motions. Plaintiff seeks an order compelling Defendant to answer interrogatories and respond to requests for production of documents regarding any disciplinary action, tardiness, patient and staff complaints, and other performance evaluation information for other physicians employed by Defendant. (Filing No. 50; Filing No. 56 at p. 3). Plaintiff also seeks an order compelling an additional Rule 30(b)(6) deposition of Defendant because the deponents were unprepared to answer the majority of topics noticed by Plaintiff. (Filing No. 53).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Written Discovery

         Plaintiff seeks an order compelling the Defendant to answer Interrogatory Nos. 10 and 11, and respond to Request for Production of Document Nos. 21, 24, 37 and 38. (Filing No. 50).

         Interrogatory Nos. 10 and 11 ask Defendant to “set forth in detail all patient and staff complaints regarding any current or former physician of the Defendant from [2010][1]through the present, ” and to list all investigations and actions taken in response to those complaints. (Filing No. 51-1). Plaintiffs Request for Production No s. 37 and 38 seek the documents related to those patient and staff complaints and investigations taken in response. (Filing Nos. 51-2).

         In response to Plaintiffs interrogatories, subject to objections, Defendant referenced Plaintiff to documents previously produced to Plaintiff, and stated that such complaints “were investigated pursuant to the policies and procedures” in Defendant's policy manual, which was also provided to Plaintiff. (Filing No. 51-1 at pp. 2-3). Similarly, Defendant represents it already produced relevant information regarding patient and staff complaints and investigations of those complaints in response to Request Nos. 37 and 38. (Filing No. 68 at p. 3, 7). Defendant represents that the documents produced are all the documents in its possession, control, or custody found after conducting a reasonably diligent search. (Filing No. 68 at p. 3). Having reviewed the matter, the Court finds no reason to doubt Defendant's representation that it fully answered these interrogatories by its previous disclosures of documents. Therefore the Court will deny Plaintiff's motion to compel further answers to Interrogatory Nos. 10 and 11, and Request for Production Nos. 37 and 38.

         Plaintiff also seeks an order compelling Defendant to produce documents responsive to the following Requests for Production of Documents:

• Copies of employment/personnel files of physicians employed by Defendant between 2010 and August 2015, excluding information related to disability, physical health, and ...

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