Case Number: BC600343??? Hearing Date: April 25, 2016??? Dept: 31
Plaintiff Lucy Blanco?s Motion to Quash or, in the Alternative, to Modify Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records Directed to Custodian of Records of All Patient Billing Records, Kaiser Permanente Central Support Services Revenue Cycle and plaintiff?s Motion to Quash or, in the Alternative, to Modify Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records Directed to SCPMG and KFH, Central ROI Unit are GRANTED, in part.
Plaintiff moves to quash a subpoena for business records served on the Custodian of Records of all Patient Billing Records: Kaiser Permanente Central Support Services Revenue Cycle and SCPMG and KFH, Central ROI Unit. The subpoena to Kaiser seeks:
The production of all DOCUMENTS and THINGS in your possession, custody or control that refer, relate, or pertain to Plaintiff Lucy Blanco. . . . Without limiting the foregoing, this deposition subpoena calls for the production of any and all DOCUMENTS and THINGS relating, pertaining, or referring to, including, but not limited to the following categories prepared, created, or drafted at any time during the period of 01/01/2003 through the present:
1. Billing and accounting records concerning Blanco; and
2. Any and all file jackets or covers for files pertaining to Blanco.
(Simonian Decl. Ex. 4.) In Opposition, Defendant notes it has offered to narrow the requests to September 2010 to present. (Horton Decl. ? 9.) The request to SCPMG and KFH, Central ROI Unit similarly seeks ?all DOCUMENTS and THINGS,? but includes a much larger list of 11 items that are sought ?without limiting the foregoing? request for all documents.
?[A]lthough in seeking recovery for physical and mental injuries plaintiffs have unquestionably waived their physician-patient and psychotherapist-patient privileges as to all information concerning the medical conditions which they have put in issue, past cases make clear that such waiver extends only to information relating to the medical conditions in question, and does not automatically open all of a plaintiff’s past medical history to scrutiny.? Britt v. Superior Court (1978) 20 Cal.3d 844, 849. While discovery cannot be limited solely to specific treatment resulting from the incidents which allegedly caused Plaintiff?s damages, Id. at 864 n.9, discovery also cannot seek all of Plaintiff?s medical history. Id. at 849. This is precisely what the deposition subpoena at issue does here.
?The burden is on the party seeking the constitutionally protected information to establish direct relevance.? Davis v. Superior Court (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1008, 1017. ?Mere speculation as to the possibility that some portion of the records might be relevant to some substantive issue does not suffice.? Id. MV argues that the extreme breadth of the subpoenas are permissible due to the vague nature of Blanco?s Complaint. Notably, the Complaint contains no factual allegations at all, but rather, recites the elements of each cause of action asserted without factual detail. Blanco?s disability claims are based on the conclusory allegation that Blanco suffered from ?disabilities? that fall with the definition of disability under Gov. Code ? 12926. (Compl. ?? 10-12.) The definitions of mental and physical disabilities under Gov. Code ? 12926 are extremely broad. Gov. Code ? 12926(j); Gov. Code ? 12926(m). The Complaint further alleges generally that plaintiff suffered ?damages for shame, humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional distress.? (Compl. ? 16.) It is clear to the court that both parties contributed to the overbreadth of the subpoenas at issue: On the one hand, plaintiff?s complaint is replete with vague and generic allegations. On the other hand, defendant did not demur to the complaint or seek to clarify or narrow the scope of Plaintiff?s disabilities through other means before intruding on a constitutionally protected area.
In Reply, Blanco provides the Court with her discovery responses describing her disability. Here recitation of ?all facts? begins with a request for CFRA leave in October of 2014 for ?stress-related disabilities? which appears to have been granted as Blanco attests to returning to work in January of 2015 without restriction. (Reply Ex. 1 at 7.) Blanco?s responses attest that ?for some time, Plaintiff Lucy Blanco had been struggling with foot-related disabilities. Specifically, Plaintiff suffered from severe bunion and related conditions that inhibited her ability to walk, stand, wear shoes, drive, and work, among other things.? (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff?s healthcare providers determined that she should undergo surgery and it was scheduled for May 2015. (Id.) Plaintiff attests she was terminated prior to her return to work. (Id.) Plaintiff also attests to ?severe emotional distress, including depression, anxiety, hair loss, social isolation, and hopelessness.? (Id. at 9.) The replay makes clear that these are the conditions that Blanco has put in issue and the requests for medical information are properly limited to documents relating solely to these issues. Britt v. Superior Court (1978) 20 Cal.3d 844, 849.
Defendant also argues that it is entitled to the entirety of Blanco?s medical records because Blanco has a Commercial Class B Driver?s license and there are certain physical requirements a driver must meet to by ?physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.? 49 CFR 391.41(b). However, there is no evidence provided that Defendant terminated Blanco due to her failure to meet these requirements or that there were any issues with Blanco?s Class B license.
?The burden is on the party seeking the constitutionally protected information to establish direct relevance.? Davis v. Superior Court (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1008, 1017. ?Mere speculation as to the possibility that some portion of the records might be relevant to some substantive issue does not suffice.? Id. Defendant?s argument relating to the licensing requirements fails to meet the constitutional requirements of Davis for searching Blanco?s medical records.
Based on the foregoing, the motion is GRANTED, in part. Given Blanco?s enunciation of the claims put in issue by this case in her interrogatory responses, the subpoenas at issue are properly modified to encompass the period of September 2010 to the present, and all ?DOCUMENTS and THINGS? as defined in the subpoenas relating to Blanco?s (1) severe bunion and related conditions that inhibited her ability to walk, stand, wear shoes, drive, and work; and (2) severe emotional distress, including depression, anxiety, hair loss, social isolation, and hopelessness.
Based on the analysis set forth above, the Court finds that both parties acted with substantial justification and declines to impose sanctions. CCP ? 1987.2(a)
Moving party is ordered to give notice.