United States District Court, D. Arizona
S. Willett, United States Magistrate Judge.
18, 2018, following the District Judge's referral (Doc.
179), the Court held a telephonic hearing concerning three
Joint Notices of Discovery Dispute (Docs. 162, 166, 170).
This Order sets forth the Court's rulings on the
discovery disputes presented in the Joint Notices.
Rule of Civil Procedure 26 provides that a party 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.P. 26(b)(1). A
“relevant matter” under Rule 26(b)(1) is any
matter that “bears on, or that reasonably could lead to
other matters that could bear on, any issue that is or may be
in the case.” Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v.
Sanders, 437 U.S. 340, 351, 98 S.Ct. 2380, 57 L.Ed.2d
253 (1978). In determining proportionality, the court
“consider[s] the importance of the issues at stake in
the action, the amount in controversy, the parties'
relative access to relevant information, the parties'
resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the
issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed
discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). “Information within this scope of discovery
need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.”
may request documents “in the responding party's
possession, custody, or control.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
34(a)(1). A request is adequate if it describes items with
“reasonable particularity”; specifies a time,
place, and manner for the inspection; and specifies the form
or forms in which electronic information can be produced.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b). “Thus, a request is sufficiently
clear if it places the party upon reasonable notice of what
is called for and what is not.” Richmond v. Mission
Bank, 2015 WL 1637835, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Apr. 13, 2015)
(internal citation and quotation marks omitted). The
responding party must respond in writing and is obliged to
produce all specified relevant and nonprivileged documents,
tangible things, or electronically stored information in its
“possession, custody, or control” on the date
specified. Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a). Alternatively, a party may
state an objection to a request. Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b)(2)(C).
2015, a number of individuals (“Relators”) filed
this qui tam action under the False Claim Act on behalf of
the United States, naming IASIS Healthcare LLC
(“IASIS”) and Health Choice of Arizona, Inc.
(“HCA”) as Defendants. The United States declined
to intervene. (Doc. 13). Relators are current and former
employees of Defendant HCA or one of its affiliates. (Doc.
109 at 2). HCA is a wholly owned subsidiary of IASIS and
contracts with the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment
System (“AHCCCS”), which is the agency that
administers the State of Arizona's Medicaid program.
(Id.). HCA provides healthcare services to Arizona
Medicaid enrollees through subcontracted providers.
(Id.). This action concerns the State of
Arizona's capitation payments to HCA, which include sums
expressly allotted to compensate HCA for federally mandated
cost containment programs. (Doc. 166 at 2). Relators state
that “HCA has admitted that the prior authorization
(‘PA') of medical services is one of those
‘core' and ‘important' programs for which
AHCCCS paid HCA administrative fees.” (Id.).
Relators allege that HCA “decided to cheat on its PA
program by automatically approving tens of thousands of PA
requests through a process called ‘administrative
approval, ' without performing any part of the required
medical necessity review; and then hiding their failures from
the State.” (Id.).
are a number of disputes regarding discovery requests
contained in Relators' third set of Requests for
Production of Documents (“RFP Set Three”) that
were served on Defendants on January 25, 2018. The Joint
Notice filed on April 12, 2018 addresses RFP Set Three No.
11, along with a dispute concerning a Rule 30(b)(6)
deposition notice. (Doc. 162). The two Joint Notices (Docs.
166, 170) filed on April 25, 2018 concern RFP Set Three Nos.
8, 10, 12, and 13. For the reasons explained below, the Court
will deny Relators' requests contained in the Joint
Notices (Docs. 162, 166, 170).
“Joint Notice of Discovery Dispute on
Plaintiffs-Relators' Requests for Production of
Documents, Set Three, and 30(B)(6) Deposition Notice”
December 12, 2017, Relators issued a Rule 30(b)(6) Notice for
HCA's testimony on:
The relationship between HCA and Instream (and/or IASIS and
Instream) including, contractual terms and obligations, any
personal, family or non-business relationship between those
who work or worked at or invested in HCA (or IASIS) and those
who work or worked at or invested in Instream.
162 at 3).
Set Three No. 11, Relators requested:
All Documents and Communications that relate to any contract,
relationship, or agreement between InStream, and HCA and/or
IASIS, including the actual contracts and communications
(whether internal to IASIS, interdental to HCA, between IASIS
and HCA, or ...