United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
L. C. FELDMAN JUDGE
ORDER AND REASONS
VAN MEERVELD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court are the Motion to Quash Subpoenas (Rec. Doc. 34)
and the Motion to Quash Additional Subpoenas (Rec. Doc. 45)
filed by plaintiff Von Metriz Lewis. Since the filing of the
motions, arguments concerning belated service of the
subpoenas have been rendered moot because the District Judge
has extended the time to complete discovery. (Rec. Doc. 62).
According to defendant 21st Century Insurance
Company, plaintiff now agrees that the motions to quash are
moot insofar as the subpoenas to plaintiffs' medical
providers are concerned, but plaintiff continues to object to
the subpoenas for plaintiff's employment records.
a personal injury case that arises out of an alleged
hit-and-run accident on November 9, 2017. Plaintiff filed
this lawsuit against her UM insurer alleging physical
injuries; mental anguish; lost enjoyment of life; medical
expenses; loss of past, present, and future income; loss of
earning capacity; and property damage. In her motion to
quash, plaintiff explains that at the time of the accident,
she was a retired nurse, having last worked five years
previously. She represents that she “is not making a
claim for lost wages in the instant litigation and will
stipulate to such at trial.” (Rec. Doc. 34-1, at
She insists that her wage and employment information have no
bearing on the issues in this lawsuit and that the subpoenas
to her former employers should be quashed.
argues that plaintiff's employment records are relevant
because they may show that she was injured at one of her past
jobs and whether she took sick leave for neck and back pain
prior to the incident at issue here. Defendant submits that
information about workplace injuries could be used to impeach
the plaintiff. Defendant also argues that the employment
records could shed light on plaintiff's claims for
emotional distress. Defendant argues that employment records
have been held discoverable in cases where the plaintiff
alleges damages for physical injuries and emotional distress.
court finds the cases cited by the defendant distinguishable.
Although the court in Matherne v. Schramm compelled
the plaintiffs to provide signed releases for employment
records, the court was ruling on an unopposed motion to
compel responses to discovery that plaintiff had failed to
respond to. No. CIV.A. 12-807-JJB-RL, 2013 WL 5961096, at *3
(M.D. La. Nov. 7, 2013). The court required the plaintiffs to
respond to the discovery without objections, essentially
finding the plaintiffs had waived their right to do so.
Id. In Rivera v. United States, the court
similarly ordered plaintiffs to sign releases for employment
records, but unlike here, lost wages were at issue. No.
EP-15-CV-21-KC, 2015 WL 13649403, at *9 (W.D. Tex. Dec. 22,
2015). The court in Lutzeier v. Citigroup Inc.
compelled production of employment records, but unlike here,
in addition to emotional distress, the plaintiff in that
lawsuit alleged that he had suffered lost wages and damage to
his reputation as a result of an allegedly wrongful
termination from employment. No. 4:14CV183 RLW, 2015 WL
1853820, at *3 (E.D. Mo. Apr. 22, 2015). The court in
Baptiste v. Centers, Inc. found employment
records relevant to the plaintiff's claim for mental
anguish and lost enjoyment of life, but unlike here, the
plaintiff was asserting an employment discrimination claim
and the past employment records were also found to be
relevant to defendant's defense that plaintiff was
terminated due to deficient performance and to
plaintiff's credibility if she had previously made
complaints of employment discrimination. No.
5:13-CV-71-OC-22PRL, 2013 WL 3196758, at *3 (M.D. Fla. June
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that “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.” Fed. R. Civ.
Proc. 26(b)(1). Here, the sole bases for relevance advanced
by the defendant are speculative at best. The sheer
possibility that these employment records might reflect a
past injury, an on the job accident, time missed for neck and
back pain, or some information about plaintiff's mental
or emotional condition before the accident without any reason
to suggest that such information would be found there does
not make those records relevant. Nor is there any suggestion
that the information sought cannot be obtained elsewhere. To
the contrary, much better evidence appears to exist-defendant
issued subpoenas to eleven health care providers. No.
argument has been made by defendant as to why these medical
files would not provide sufficient information regarding
plaintiff's physical condition. And no argument has been
made to justify any suspicion that plaintiff ever suffered an
on the job injury, or that her retirement in 2012 was injury
or accident related. Without any such support, obtaining
personnel files from former employers in this context is but
a fishing expedition. In light of plaintiff's
representation that she is not seeking lost wages, a
representation that defendant appears to have accepted, the
court finds that plaintiff's employment records are not
relevant and, therefore, not discoverable. Accordingly, IT IS
ORDERED that as to the subpoenas to plaintiffs former
employers, the Motions to Quash are GRANTED; the subpoenas
issued to Touro Infirmary, Dr. Babak Kosari, Outsource, and
Caravan, are hereby quashed..
 The court notes that the petition does
allege lost income. But defendant does not seem to object to
plaintiff's simple representation that she will not seek
lost wages and that she ...