United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion (ECF No. 64) of
Defendant Mercy Hospitals East Communities
(“Mercy”) to quash Plaintiff's Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) notice of deposition. For the
reasons set forth below, the Court will deny the motion to
quash but will limit the scope of the deposition.
claims in this putative class action arise out of Mercy's
billing practices for patients injured in automobile
accidents. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Mercy and the
billing services company with which Mercy contracts,
Defendant Medical Reimbursements of America, Inc.
(“MRA”), unlawfully bill patients' auto
insurance medical payments coverage and/or assert medical
liens before billing the patient's health insurance,
which would be subject to a discounted rate, in order to
maximize revenue to the financial detriment of patients.
Under the Case Management Order, discovery is bifurcated, and
this phase of the case is limited to the named
Plaintiff's claims, which arise out of Mercy's
billing for her medical treatment on May 31, 2016.
Court previously denied without prejudice Defendants'
motions to dismiss, which the Court converted to motions for
summary judgment, in light of Plaintiff's request for
additional time to conduct discovery, pursuant to Rule 56(d).
ECF No. 44. The Court gave Plaintiff until May 31, 2017
(shortly before the close of fact discovery) to conduct
whatever discovery she believes is necessary to respond to
Defendants' motions. The Court then denied
Defendants' motions without prejudice to refiling on or
after May 31, 2017.
served her Rule 30(b)(6) notice on April 24, 2017. A copy of
the notice is attached to Mercy's brief as ECF No. 65-1.
The 30 topics listed in the notice relate to: Mercy's
policies and procedures for billing auto insurance medical
payments coverage, asserting medical liens, and obtaining
patient consent (known as “Consent and Agreement”
forms) for patients with health insurance during the periods
of December 13, 2013 (the date on which Mercy hired MRA) to
the present, and for the three-year period prior to December
17, 2013; Mercy's billing for Plaintiff's medical
treatment on May 31, 2016; negotiations between MRA and Mercy
prior to December 13, 2017; MRA's assessment of the Mercy
billing practices described above prior to December 17, 2013;
Mercy's efforts, prior to May 31, 2016, to determine the
legal compliance of, and industry standards with respect to,
the billing practices described above; MRA's access to
Mercy's patient information during the period of December
13, 2013 to present; MRA's access to and receipt of
information and records relating to Hoops specifically; and
complaints received by Mercy during the period of December
17, 2013 to May 31, 2016 regarding the billing practices
argues that the deposition notice is duplicative of
depositions already taken of Mercy's Chief Revenue Cycle
Officer, Sterling Coker, and its Executive Director of
Patient Receivables Management, James Mazzola, in their
individual capacities. Mercy further argues that the 30
topics listed in the deposition notice are irrelevant and not
proportional to the needs of the case. As to the topics
related to Mercy's efforts to determine the legal
compliance of its billing practices, Mercy argues that such
information is protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Court does not believe that the fact that Plaintiff took
depositions of Coker and Mazzola in their individual
capacities bars Plaintiff from taking a Rule 30(b)(6)
deposition of Mercy. There is no indication in the record
that Mercy has agreed to adopt the individual testimony of
these witnesses as that of the corporation, or that the
individuals were prepared to testify about information known
or reasonably available to Mercy with respect to the topics
listed in the Rule 30(b)(6) notice. However, in order to
minimize duplicative testimony and decrease costs, the Court
strongly encourages the parties to meet and confer regarding
whether any of the individuals previously deposed may bind
Mercy, what topics have been covered by previous testimony,
and what parts of that testimony is binding on Mercy.
the Court will not quash the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition in its
entirety, upon careful consideration of the topics listed in
the deposition notice and the arguments of the parties, and
in light of the discovery limits set forth in Rule 26(b), the
Court will limit the scope of topics to be covered. As the
Court previously indicated to Plaintiff during the April 26,
2017 hearing on Plaintiff's motion to compel, the Court
does not believe that Mercy's billing practices before
the date on which it hired MRA, the pre-contract negotiations
between Mercy and MRA, or prior complaints by other
individuals regarding Mercy's billing practices, are
relevant to Plaintiff's claims or proportional to the
needs of the case. Therefore, the Court will limit the scope
of the deposition notice to exclude such topics, which are
numbered 2, 7, 11, 13, 16, 27, 28, and 30. The Court
believes that the remaining topics fall within the scope of
permissible discovery under Rule 26(b). As to the topics
related to Mercy's efforts to determine the legal
compliance of its billing practices (e.g., matters 20 and
21), Mercy has not waived the attorney-client privilege,
its representative may invoke the privilege to the extent
particular questions implicate it.
Court will order Mercy to promptly produce a representative
in accordance with the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition notice, as
limited in the manner set forth above. The Court will also
extend the time for Plaintiff to complete discovery relating
to Defendants' motions for summary judgment until the
date on which the deposition is complete, and will extend the
deadline for Defendants to refile these motions until seven
days after the deposition is complete.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant Mercy Hospitals East
Communities' motion to quash Plaintiffs Rule 30(b)(6)
notice of deposition is DENIED, but the topics to be covered
during the deposition shall be limited as set forth above.
ECF No. 64.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Mercy Hospitals East
Communities shall promptly produce a representative in
accordance with the Rule 30(b)(6) Notice of Deposition, as
limited by this Memorandum and Order. The time for Defendants
to refile their motions for summary judgment, as set forth in
the Court's February 2, 2017 Memorandum and Order ...