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Cheatwood v. Christian Brothers Services

United States District Court, D. Arizona

January 3, 2018

AARON and BREANNA CHEATWOOD, individually and as Next Best Friend of D.C., a minor child, Plaintiffs,
v.
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS SERVICES, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          H. RUSSEL HOLLAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Motion to Quash

         Defendant Sentinel Air Medical Alliance moves to quash or modify plaintiffs' subpoena duces tecum served on non-party, Bryan E. Bledsoe, D.O.[1] This motion is opposed.[2] Oral argument was requested but is not deemed necessary.

         Background

         In April 2015, plaintiffs' son (D.C.) was transported by a medical transport helicopter from Yuma Regional Medical Center to Banner Cardon Children's Medical Center. Defendant Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust denied payment for the cost of the air transport, allegedly based on an opinion obtained from Sentinel that the air transport was not medically necessary. In their amended complaint, plaintiffs assert breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing claims against Christian Brothers Services (CBS) and the Trust. Plaintiffs have alleged that CBS and the Trust “acted unreasonably by relying upon the opinion of Sentinel Air, an obviously biased and anti-claimant medical reviewer, to deny [p]laintiffs' claim.”[3] Plaintiffs assert an aiding and abetting claim against Sentinel based on allegations that Sentinel aided and abetted CBS's and the Trust's breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.

         Dr. Bledsoe did a medical necessity review for Sentinel. In his initial report, Dr. Bledsoe concluded that air transport had not been medically necessary in D.C.'s case.[4] In a supplemental report, Dr. Bledsoe again concluded that air transport had not been medically necessary.[5]

         In the subpoena served on Dr. Bledsoe, plaintiffs requested seven different categories of documents, and the parties were able to reach an agreement as to the production of documents in response to requests Nos. 1-4.[6] However, the following three requests are still at issue:

5. Reports of medical necessity reviews you have participated in (solely or with others) from January 1, 2013 to present (the identity of the persons examined may be redacted, or alternatively plaintiff[s] will agree to enter into a binding stipulation to maintain the confidentiality of the identities of the persons examined);
6. All W-9's received for compensation derived directly or indirectly from your work performing medical necessity reviews for the tax years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016; and
7. The number of medical necessity reviews you have participated in (solely or with others) from January 1, 2013, to the present, broken down by the number performed on behalf of plaintiffs and the number performed on behalf of defendants.[7]

         Sentinel now moves to quash these three requests.[8]

         Discussion

         “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45 governs discovery of nonparties by subpoena.” ATS Products, Inc. v. Champion Fiberglass, Inc., 309 F.R.D. 527, 530 (N.D. Cal. 2015). Rule 45 provides, in pertinent part, that

[o]n timely motion, the court for the district where compliance is required must quash or ...

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