United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
MARIE L. MITCHELL, et al., Plaintiffs,
GARY MIMS, et al., Defendants.
ORDER ON DISCOVERY DISPUTE
KAYS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
case arises out of a motor vehicle collision in Boone County,
Missouri. Plaintiffs allege Defendant Gary Mims
(“Mims”), an employee of Defendants Hogan
Dedicated Services, LLC, and Hogan Transports, Inc.,
(“Hogan Defendants”) negligently drove his
tractor-trailer combination into the rear of Plaintiffs'
vehicle on I-70 highway. Plaintiffs claim the Hogan
Defendants are vicariously liable for the acts of Mims, and
that they negligently hired and retained Mims as a driver.
Now before the Court is a discovery dispute regarding the
disclosure of Mims' medical records, employment records,
and driving records (Docs. 50, 55, 59, 61).
complaint alleges that on October 27, 2017, Mims negligently
drove a commercial vehicle into the back of their vehicle,
causing injuries. Plaintiffs also allege the Hogan Defendants
negligently hired, retained, and monitored Mims and
negligently entrusted him with the commercial vehicle. Mims
timely answered and raised affirmative defenses, including
of discovery, Plaintiffs served interrogatories and requests
for production on Defendants. Defendants then served
Objections and Responses on Plaintiffs. Defendants did not
sign the Objections and Responses under oath, and their
responses to Plaintiffs' interrogatories simply referred
Plaintiffs to Mims' deposition testimony or
Defendants' Rule 26(a)(1) initial disclosures.
Recognizing the inadequacy of these responses, Defendants
agreed to sign their responses under oath, withdraw their
references to other documents, and supplement all but one
response: Mims did not agree to provide Plaintiffs
with a list of all the medical professionals that saw or
treated him the five years preceding the accident.
on January 15, 2019, Plaintiffs served fifteen subpoenas on
Mims' former employers and medical providers, as well as
one subpoena on the Missouri Driver's License Record
Center. Defendants do not dispute that Mims' driving
records are discoverable, but they contend Plaintiffs request
is too broad. Defendants also claim the other fifteen
subpoenas should be quashed because they contain privileged
parties met and conferred but could not reach an agreement
related to the disclosure of the medical and employment
records or the scope of the driver's license inquiry. The
parties have now submitted their briefing,  and the issues
are ripe for ruling.
district court has wide discretion in handling pretrial
discovery matters. Chavis Van & Storage of Myrtle
Beach, Inc. v. United Van Lines, LLC, 784 F.3d 1183,
1198 (8th Cir. 2015). A party generally may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
claim or defense if it is proportional to the needs of the
case. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Proportionality
is weighed by considering “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.”
Id. “Information within this scope of
discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be
discoverable.” Id. The rule requires a party
objecting to discovery to show specifically how each
discovery request is irrelevant or otherwise not subject to
discovery. See id. at 33(b)(4), 34(b).
diversity case such as this one, the Court applies state
privilege law, not federal law. Baker v. Gen. Motors
Corp., 209 F.3d 1051, 1053 (8th Cir. 2000)
the Court must address whether Mims has standing to challenge
subpoenas issued to third parties. Under Rule 45, a court
“must quash or modify a subpoena that … requires
disclosure of privileged or other protected matter, if no
exception or waiver applies.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
45(d)(3)(A)(iii). Parties have standing to object to
subpoenas under Rule 45 when they have “some personal
right or privilege with regard to the documents
sought.” 9A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 2459 (3d ed.);
e.g., Enviropak Corp. v. Zenfinity Capital, LLC,
2014 WL 4715384, at *4 (E.D. Mo. Sept. 22, 2014). Here, Mims
has a personal right to his medical, employment, and driving
records. Thus, he has the ability to object to the subpoenas
seeking these records. The Court now turns to the substance
of the parties' disputes.
both Plaintiffs and Defendants have discovery issues, all
disputes relate to three main issues: 1) Mims' medical
records, 2) Mims' employment records, and 3) Mims'
driving record. The Court addresses each issue in turn.
Mims' medical ...