Monday, June 4, 2018

Motion To Quash Subpoena Addressed in Medical Malpractice Case

In the case of Smith v. Pancholy, 16 - CV - 1789 (C.P. Lacka. Co. March 22, 2018 Nealon, J.), the court granted in part and denied in part Motions to Quash Subpoenas filed by medical malpractice Defendants.  

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff initiated this wrongful death action following the death of the Plaintiff’s husband after a cardiac procedure.  

During the course of discovery, the Plaintiff served subpoenas on non-parties, which included the hospitals at which the decedent was treated.  The subpoenas requested the production of any and all information regarding screens, data, visuals, monitors, televisions, and computers that were available for use in a specified lab for doctors to review, observe, or use to assist during any cardiology procedure.  The subpoenas requested such information over a four (4) year period. 

The hospitals argued that the requests were overly broad and vague and that the requests caused an unreasonable annoyance and embarrassment by potentially disclosing confidential information about other patients. The hospitals also asserted that the subpoena created an unreasonable burden and expense to locate, gather and produce all such documents and items.  

The court found that the requests spanning the four (4) year period was indeed overly broad.    The subpoenas were also found to lack reasonable particularity. The court additionally noted that, even if private medical information was redacted, the Plaintiff’s requests would result in an unreasonable burden and expense to the hospital.  

Given that the only potentially relevant information in the specified lab were the screens, visuals, monitors and computers that were available for a physician to utilize during the month of the Plaintiff’s husband’s surgery, the court allowed discovery with respect to that month only and otherwise quashed the subpoenas in all other respects.

Anyone wishing to review this decision may click this LINK

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