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Moses v. Shriya Hospitality, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

September 12, 2017

BETTY LOU MOSES
v.
SHRIYA HOSPITALITY, LLC

          ORDER

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant Shriya Hospitality LLC's (“Shriya”) Motion to Compel Plaintiff's Responses to First Supplemental Discovery Requests & Withheld Authorizations (R. Doc. 19) filed on August 15, 2017. Plaintiff has not filed a response within the time allowed by Local Rule 7(f). Accordingly, the Motion is unopposed.

         I. Background

         Betty Lou Moses (“Plaintiff”) commenced this slip-and-fall action on August 31, 2016, naming Shriya as the sole defendant. (R. Doc. 1). Plaintiff subsequently filed a First Amended Complaint adding Liberty Mutual Insurance Europe Limited as an additional defendant. (R. Doc. 14).

         Plaintiff alleges that she and her husband, Bruce Moses, both professional musicians in their seventies, stayed at a hotel owned and operated by Shriya on August 5, 2016 while they were on their way to a performance. (R. Doc. 14 at 3). Plaintiff alleges that after settling in their room, she and her husband were walking down a concrete walkway toward the front desk when Plaintiff “slipped in a puddle of moisture and accumulated slime” and “fell hard to the ground.” (R. Doc. 14 at 3-4). Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the fall she suffered, among other things, “a severe hip injury” and “required immediate hip replacement surgery, as well as numerous follow up doctor's and physical therapy visits, and home health care.” (R. Doc. 14 at 4). Plaintiff alleges that she has suffered past, present and future debilitating physical and mental pain and mental anguish due to her injuries”; she “has incurred significant past medical expenses, and these expenses will continue into the future”; and she “has suffered a loss of earnings and earning capacity and will continue to suffer such loss in the future.” (R. Doc. 14 at 5). Plaintiff seeks to recover $1 million. (R. Doc. 14 at 7).

         On April 24, 2017, Shriya propounded Supplemental Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. (R. Doc. 19-4).

         On June 2, 2017, Shriya set a discovery conference to take place on June 9, 2017 because it had not received responses to the supplemental discovery requests. (R. Doc. 19-5). At the conference, Shriya agreed to extend the deadline to respond to the supplemental discovery requests to June 12, 2017. (R. Doc. 19-6).

         On June 16, 2017, Plaintiff provided responses to the supplemental discovery requests. (R. Doc. 19-9). Later that day, Shriya asserted in an e-mail that Plaintiff's responses were deficient to the extent that Plaintiff would not authorize disclosure of her health information with regard to psychological treatment, sexually transmitted diseases, behavioral or mental health services, and treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. (R. Doc. 19-10).[1]

         On June 21, 2017, Shriya asserted in a letter that Plaintiff's responses to Supplemental Interrogatory No. 1 and Supplemental Request for Production Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 8 were deficient. (R. Doc. 19-11). Shriya requested that these deficiencies be addressed by June 27, 2017. (R. Doc. 19-11 at 3).

         On June 26, 2017, Plaintiff provided supplemental responses to those discovery requests. (R. Doc. 19-12).

         On July 25, 2017, Shriya took the depositions of Plaintiff and her husband. (R. Doc. 19-2 at 2; see R. Doc. 19-7 at 2). Shriya represents that at her deposition, Plaintiff executed “an MMSEA (Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007) verification form, a Medicare Records Authorization, an authorization to obtain her prior Federal tax returns, and an authorization to obtain her Social Security records.” (R. Doc. 19-2 at 2-3). Shriya further asserts, however, that Plaintiff's counsel did not provide a copy of the tax and social security authorization forms executed by Plaintiff. (R. Doc. 19-2 at 3). Shriya also represents that Plaintiff's counsel did not provide certain forms executed by Plaintiff's husband, a non-party to this action who is represented by Plaintiff's counsel for the limited purpose of the execution of authorization forms. (R. Doc. 19-2 at 3).

         On July 31, 2017, Shriya requested Plaintiff to produce copies of the withheld, but executed, authorization forms by August 3, 2017. (R. Doc. 19-13).

         Through the instant motion, Shriya seeks “an order compelling plaintiff to fully respond to the supplemental discovery requests at issue . . ., and compelling plaintiff's counsel to immediately produce all fully executed authorizations presently being withheld in the above-captioned matter.” (R. Doc. 19-2 at 9).

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Legal Standards

         “Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery if it determines that: “(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action; or (iii) the proposed discovery is outside the scope permitted by Rule 26(b)(1).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(C).

         “The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). Rule 26(c)'s “good cause” requirement indicates that the party seeking a protective order has the burden “to show the necessity of its issuance, which contemplates a particular and specific demonstration of fact as distinguished from stereotyped and conclusory statements.” In ...


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