United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
STEVEN PAYTON, ET AL.
SOUTHERN FIDELITY INSURANCE COMPANY
E. KNOWLES, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
October 10, 2018, the Motion to Quash Subpoena Duces
Tecum Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 45 and 26 [Doc. #12] came
on for oral hearing before the undersigned. Present were Jim
Mullaly on behalf of plaintiff and Kevin Riche on behalf of
defendant. After the oral hearing, the Court took the motion
under advisement and ordered plaintiffs to produce the
documents for which they claimed privilege to the Court for
in camera review no later than five days from the
date of that minute entry. The Court further ordered
plaintiffs to produce the remaining documents to defendant at
that time. It is now November 5, 2018 - 26 days after the
oral hearing and dated minute entry - and, despite a
telephone call to plaintiffs' counsel, this Court has yet
to receive the documents for which plaintiffs allege
privilege. This Court waits no longer to rule. Having
reviewed the pleadings and the case law, the Court rules as
originally filed suit in the Civil District Court for the
Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana. Plaintiffs allege that
on August 20, 2017, a fire broke out in their home while they
were out of town in Lafayette, Louisiana, which destroyed all
but the free-standing swimming pool. In January 2018,
plaintiffs provided defendant with a proof of loss. Defendant
refuses to pay the claim.
thus sues defendant for, among other things, damages, breach
of contract, and bad faith failure to pay a claim. Defendant
removed the case to this Court on March 5, 2018, based upon
diversity and the amount in controversy pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1332 and 1441.
The Parties' Arguments
The Motion to Quash
Defendant issued a subpoena to plaintiff's psychiatrist
that, in essence, seeks “any and all” medical
records from Dr. Jonathan Rynning, who plaintiffs identified
as having treated Steven Payton at some point in the past.
first argue that they have standing to move to quash the
subpoena because it seeks their medical records in which they
have a personal right and interest.
also contend that the subpoena is overbroad because it seeks
“any and all” records without specifying the
specific records that defendant seeks. Plaintiffs also argue
that the subpoena is irrelevant and does not seek information
or documents that may be admissible at trial. Plaintiffs
query how the medical records of Rynning are relevant to
their claim that their house burned.
that the Supreme Court has recognized a
psychotherapist-patient privilege, they lastly argue that the
subpoena seeks documents that are protected by the privilege
and that they have not waived the privilege.
maintains that plaintiffs explicitly listed “mental
anguish” as a claim for damages against it. Quoting the
subpoena, defendant argues that its subpoena explicitly and
specifically outlines the documents that it seeks when it
states “any and all documents contained in the medical
records in your possession regarding medical and/or mental
health evaluation or treatment to Steven C. Payton, DOB
02/03/1969, SSN XXX-XX-9254, including but not limited to,
your records, records from other facilities or providers,
notes of treatment, progress notes, hospital records, nurses
notes, consultant's reports, patient questionnaires,
narrative reports, laboratory tests, diagnostic films,
diagnostic studies and reports, medication records, discharge
summaries, billing information, billing records, and/or
billing statements.” Defendant thus maintains that the
subpoena is not overly broad. It contends that all of the
documents requested are material to plaintiffs' claims
and alleged damages. It argues that should the Court find
that a temporal limitation is necessary, ten years is the
relevant starting point because ...