Monday, May 11, 2020

Remedy Crafted to Address Med Mal Discovery Disputes

In the case of Leo v. Geisinger Community Medical Center, No. 17-CV-5805 (C.P. Lacka. Co. April 17, 2020 Nealon, J.), the court addressed a Motion to Compel filed by a Plaintiff in a medical malpractice action along with a Motion for a Protective Order by the defense.

The Plaintiff filed a motion seeking to compel discovery and a deposition of a non-party pathologist. The Plaintiff also presented the defense with sixty (60) pages of a Request for Admissions that the Plaintiff first served almost two (2) months after the discovery deadline.

According to the Opinion, these motions were filed in a malpractice case which was scheduled for trial and in which the discovery deadline had expired approximately 3 ½ months before the issue arose.

The court split the baby in its decision and crafted a remedy to address the discovery dispute.  The court noted that, since the Plaintiff had repeatedly requested the production of her pathology slides and attempted to schedule the pathologist’s deposition on several occasions prior to the expiration of the discovery deadline, the Plaintiff’s motion would be granted with respect to those matters. The court did place some limitations on the parameters of the deposition that was allowed.  The court noted that, in the event that the pathologist is substantially involved in responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the deposition could be delayed. In all other respects, the Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel was denied.

The court also granted the Defendant hospital’s Motion for a Protective Order with respect to the Request for Admissions served by the Plaintiff given that those requests were untimely and unduly burdensome.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

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