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Babbs v. Block

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

May 1, 2017

RODNEY BABBS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
BRYAN BLOCK, Defendant.

          ORDER REGARDING DISCOVERY DISPUTE

          GREG KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This lawsuit arises from a shooting outside of a nightclub. Plaintiff Rodney Babbs, Jr. (“Babbs”), a bouncer at the club, ejected Defendant Bryan Block (“Defendant”), an off-duty police officer, from the premises. Shortly afterwards, a scuffle occurred outside the club during which Defendant shot Babbs.

         Now before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery of Defendant Block's Psychological Records (Doc. 120). For the following reasons, the Court orders Defendant to provide a detailed privilege log to Babbs and then for the parties to confer in accordance with Rule 37.1. The motion is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

         Background

         The shooting at issue occurred on March 4, 2011, outside of Club 6902, in Kansas City, Missouri. Police officers from the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department (“KCPD”) immediately arrested Defendant after the shooting. At the time of the shooting, Defendant was undergoing a divorce and employed by the Kansas City, Kansas, police department.

         On June 29, 2012, Defendant pled guilty in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, to one count of unlawful use of a weapon. During the plea colloquy, Defendant admitted that on March 4, 2011, he was intoxicated while in possession of a loaded firearm and that he handled the gun in a negligent manner. Also, Defendant denied ever being treated for any mental disease or mental illness.

         During discovery, Babb attempted to explore whether Defendant was, in fact, being treated for any mental disease or illness at the time of the shooting. His First Interrogatories to Defendant asked,

5. Have you ever been [sic] suffered from, been diagnosed with, been treated for or sought treatment for any mental disorders, substance abuse, depression, mental diseases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological or psychiatric conditions? If yes, please provide the name, address and phone number of any person, counselor, medical professional, medical group, and/or any other person or entity that diagnosed, treated, reviewed and/or counseled you with regard to the conditions mentioned above. Also please provide the dates of diagnosis or treatment for any of the conditions mentioned above.

Doc. 120-2 at 3. On December 11, 2015, Defendant answered:

Objection, Defendant has not placed his medical condition in issue in this case, and further, confidential communications between a licensed psychotherapist and her or his patients in the course of diagnosis or treatment are protected from compelled disclosure under Rule 501 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. See Jaffee v. Redmond, 518 U.S. 1, 15, 116 S.Ct. 1923 (U.S. 1996).

Id.

         Similarly, Babbs' First Request for Production of Documents (“the RFP”), sought

33. Medical records from any physician, counselor, therapist, etc. who treated you for any mental disorders including but not limited to, substance abuse, depression, mental diseases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological or psychiatric conditions you have been diagnosed with or treated. Please sign the attached authorization to release medical records related to the above mentioned conditions.

Doc. 120-1 at 10. It also requested,

43. A privilege log for all documents that are responsive to plaintiff's discovery requests that are being claimed are ...

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