United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
claims defendant Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
Inc., acted with complete indifference and reckless disregard
when a ceiling tile fell on plaintiff while he was inside
defendant's store. Plaintiff claims he suffered a head
injury, depression, past lost wages, future lost income, and
future medical expenses. Defendant has moved to compel
plaintiff to respond to certain discovery requests. (#17.)
are entitled to obtain discovery regarding any matter, not
privileged, which is "relevant to the subject matter
involved in the pending action." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).
The evidence sought "need not be admissible at the trial
if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to
lead to the discovery of admissible evidence."
14-15 pertain to medical billing. Interrogatory 14
seeks the "amount of the bill from each health care
provider for services rendered because of the occurrence in
question." Interrogatory 15 seeks the amounts still owed
and the amounts paid by plaintiff, by insurance, or written
off on those bills. Plaintiff argues that these requests are
beyond the scope of the pleadings because plaintiff is making
no claim for past medical expenses. Plaintiff further argues
that any information to be gathered from past medical bills
may be gathered from medical records already provided.
medical bills are sufficiently related to his future medical
expenses and other claims. The motion is granted as to
Interrogatories 14 and 15.
for Production 23 asks plaintiff to execute an
authorization for medical records going back ten years from
the occurrence. Loves offered to remove the "body as a
whole" language, leaving the portions addressing only
plaintiffs head injury and psychological treatment. As
plaintiff admits, the proper scope of medical authorizations
is that a defendant is not entitled to any and all medical
records, but rather only those that relate to physical
conditions at issue. See State ex rel. Fennewaldv.
Joyce, 533 S.W.3d 220, 222-23 (Mo. banc 2017).
Defendant, after constraining its request to records
regarding plaintiffs head injury and psychological treatment,
has properly tailored its medical record request to the
pleadings. The plaintiff will be ordered to authorize the
records request as limited by defendant for Request 23.
for Production 21 seeks execution of an employment
records authorization. Plaintiff claims past and future lost
wages. Defendant thus maintains that plaintiffs applications,
personnel records, performance reviews, wages, and earnings
records are relevant to plaintiffs ability to work,
plaintiffs income, and plaintiffs prospects for advancement.
The authorization is limited to five years before the
occurrence. Plaintiff suggests that the otherwise unlimited
scope of the authorization is impermissible, as it gives
unfettered access to plaintiff's employment file.
Plaintiff has not explained what in his employment file might
be irrelevant to his claim that he is unable to work as a
result of his injury. The motion will be granted as to
for Production 22 seeks execution of tax release
authorizations for the four years before the occurrence
because, defendant says, plaintiffs tax returns are relevant
in light of his claims for past and future lost wages.
Plaintiffs income from employment can easily be obtained
through his W2s and 1099s, and defendant has provided no
explanation for why plaintiffs full tax returns would be
required. The motion will be denied as to Request 22.
for Production 24 seeks authorization for release of
Social Security application records because plaintiff has
stated that he is in the process of applying for disability.
Defendant points out that the records are relevant because
they are likely to contain information bearing on the
severity of plaintiff s injury and his prognosis, including
his ability to work. The Court agrees. The motion will be
granted as to Request 24.
for Production 27 seeks a Medicare/Medicaid records
authorization. Defendant explains that the authorization was
left blank for plaintiff to fill in the injury and date of
injury and that the information is relevant to any potential
settlement between the parties. Defendant states that, if no
lien exists, then the authorization will yield no records.
The motion will be granted as to Request 27.
for Production 25 seeks authorization for release of
educational records. Defendant states these records are
relevant to plaintiffs claims for diminished past and future
income, and defendant has limited the scope of the request to
high school and post-high school education. Plaintiff calls
this request a "fishing expedition that will allow
defendant to secure records on anything from unrelated
injuries to counseling records from grade school."
Although it is a close call, the Court agrees that
plaintiff's claim of a head injury puts his
pre-occurrence mental functioning at issue, and defendant is
entitled to investigate that aspect of plaintiff s claim. The
motion will be granted as to Request 25.
for Production 26 seeks execution of a worker's
compensation authorization because defendant believes
plaintiff was at work when the occurrence took place.
Defendant limited the authorization to ten years preceding
the occurrence and has removed the reference to sexually
transmitted diseases. The motion will be granted as to
for Production 17 and 31 seek documents evidencing
conduct of defendant or its agents and all documents that
refer to or mention the occurrence. Plaintiff objects because
it would encompass attorney work product. Defendant has
excluded from its request any materials counsel believes to
be work-product or otherwise privileged. To the extent
plaintiff argues the request is vague and ambiguous,
defendant responds that they seek documents pertaining to
defendant's actions or inactions in maintaining the
ceiling or that otherwise refer to the incident on which
plaintiff's claim is based. This is a limited and
identifiable class of document and is likely quite small. The
motion will be granted as to Requests 17 and 31.
for Production 28 seek documents pertaining to any
insurance company which may be liable for or which has paid
for any damages set forth in plaintiffs petition. Plaintiffs
objection appears based on his argument that his making no
claim for past medical expenses. Because the Court will grant
the motion to compel with respect to ...