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Williams v. Troehler

June 23, 2010

RANDALL EDGAR WILLIAMS, SANDRA WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
MICHAEL TROEHLER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL

(Document 53)

Introduction

On May 19, 2010, Defendant Michael Troehler, ("Defendant") filed a Motion to Compel the production of medical records of Plaintiff Randal Edgar Williams. (Doc. 53). On June 4, 2010, Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion. (Doc. 56). The parties submitted a Joint Statement re: Discovery Disagreement on July 11, 2010. (Doc. 57). The matter was heard on June 18, 20010, before the Honorable Gary S. Austin, United States Magistrate Judge. Rosemary McGuire appeared on behalf of Defendant. Rayma Church appeared on behalf of Plaintiff Randall Edgar Williams ("Plaintiff"). Upon consideration of the pleadings, the Motion to Compel is DENIED.

Background

A. Procedural History

Plaintiffs Randall Williams and Sandra Williams filed the instant complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on October 9, 2008. Plaintiffs name Fresno Police Officer Michael J. Troehler and assert claims based on an August 25, 2006, incident.

According to the complaint, Plaintiff allegedly was grabbed and knocked down by Defendant during a traffic stop. After being knocked to the ground, Defendant allegedly hit or kneed Plaintiff repeatedly against the car and the side of his cervical spine, resulting in multiple level cervical disc bulges, torn ligaments in both wrists and facial lacerations. On February 23, 2009, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint asserting, inter alia, claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress.*fn1 (Doc. 13).

Defendant attempted to subpoena psychological records from Plaintiff's mental health provider, Dwight W. Sievert, M.D. Dr. Sievert objected to disclosure absent a signed authorization from Plaintiff. Subsequently, Plaintiff withdrew his emotional distress claim relating to an exacerbation of a pre-existing psychiatric condition and specific psychological injury. Plaintiff's counsel refused to produce any discovery relating to his psychological history. This prompted Defendant to file a Motion to Compel Plaintiff to authorize release of his medical records and submit to an independent medical examination ("IME") on November 16, 2009. (Doc. 28).

On January 7, 2010, Judge Beck denied Defendant's motion. (Doc. 35). Judge Beck held that Plaintiff's withdrawal of his emotional distress claim along with his claims for actual psychological injury or aggravation of an existing mental health condition were insufficient to waive the psychotherapist-therapist privilege. Id. at 4-5. Furthermore, an IME was not justified because: (1) Plaintiff withdrew his emotional distress claim; (2) he was not alleging a specific mental or psychiatric injury or disorder; (3) he did not allege unusually severe emotional distress; (4) he did not plan to offer expert testimony to support an emotional distress claim; and (5) he did not concede that his mental condition is in controversy. Id. at 6-7.*fn2

Subsequently, on February 5, 2010, the discovery deadlines were amended based on the parties' stipulation. (Doc. 40). The following deadlines were established:

* Non-expert discovery cut-off: March 26, 2010

* Expert Disclosure: March 26, 2010

* Supplemental Expert Disclosure: ...


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