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Paslar v. Stamford Hospital

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 19, 2017

CRISTINA PASLAR, et al.
v.
STAMFORD HOSPITAL, et al.

          RULING ON MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA AND FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER [DOC. #47]

          HON. SARAH A. L. MERRIAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is a motion by defendants Tully Health Center, Stamford Hospital, Stamford Health Medical Group, Inc., and Stamford Health, Inc. (collectively the “defendants”) for a protective order and to quash a subpoena duces tecum directed to defendant Stamford Hospital. [Doc. #47]. Plaintiffs Cristina Paslar and Eduardo Bunemer (collectively the “plaintiffs”) have filed a memorandum in opposition [Doc. #50]. For the reasons articulated below, the Court DENIES defendants' Motion to Quash and for Protective Order. [Doc. #47].

         A. Background

         Plaintiffs bring this medical malpractice action alleging that defendants, [1] when performing surgery to remove a “vaginal cyst” from plaintiff Cristina Paslar, deviated from standards of proper medical and surgical practice by failing to properly identify and understand documented congenital abnormalities in Ms. Paslar's reproductive and genitourinary tracts. See generally Doc. #1, Complaint. As a result of defendants' alleged negligence and medical malpractice, plaintiffs allege that Ms. Paslar suffered “serious and permanent injuries including[, ]” inter alia: “reproductive and urinary tract injury, bladder rupture, massive hemorrhage, ... MRSA infection, vaginal urinary leakage, vesicovaginal fistulas, prolonged catheterization, urological operations and operative procedures, vesicovaginal fistula repair surgery, abdominal scarring, pain and discomfort[.]” Id. at ¶72.

         The parties are well underway in their efforts to complete fact discovery by the deadline of November 30, 2017. See Doc. #26 at 4, Final Scheduling Order. As part of these efforts, plaintiffs served defendants with a Second Notice to Produce dated April 19, 2017, which requested production of:

Pathology slide recuts of surgical pathology specimen “B” labeled “tri lobe vaginal cyst” under Accession # S14-17358R as identified in Surgical Pathology Report, dated October 31, 2014.

Doc. #50-4 at 1.[2] On May 24, 2017, defendant Stamford Hospital responded that it would “produce the specimens pursuant to a protective order so that all parties have access to the specimens.” Doc. #50-5 at 1.

         Not satisfied with that response or defendants' proposed protective order, plaintiffs caused a subpoena duces tecum dated May 25, 2017, to be served on defendant Stamford Hospital. See Doc. #50-2. The subpoena requested production of:

Pathology slide recuts of surgical pathology specimen “B” labeled “trilobe vaginal cyst” under Accession #S14-17358R as identified in Surgical Pathology Report, dated October 31, 2014 in the medical records of patient Cristina Paslar ... with representative sections of “tan-pink tissue” (4.0 x 3.0 x 2.1 cm) and “tan-pink overlying mucosa” (2.1 x 1.9 cm) and routine H E stain. The Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Firm, LLP, will reimburse Stamford Hospital for the reasonable costs of reproduction, packaging, shipping and handling to avoid undue expense.

Id. at 3. The subpoena was served on an agent of Stamford Hospital on May 31, 2017, see Doc. #50-3, and sets a return date of June 29, 2017, see Doc. #50-2 at 1.

         On June 29, 2017, defendants filed the pending Motion to Quash and for Protective Order. [Doc. #47].[3] On that date, the Court held a previously-scheduled telephonic status conference to discuss the progress of discovery. [Doc. ##46, 49]. Although the parties attempted to resolve the issues related to plaintiffs' request for the recut pathology slides during this call, the parties were unable to reach agreement, [4] and the Court accordingly directed plaintiffs to respond to the motion by July 10, 2017. See Doc. #49. Plaintiffs timely filed a memorandum in opposition to defendants' motion on July 7, 2017. [Doc. #50]. Pursuant to Judge Hall's Standing Order Relating to Discovery [Doc. #5], no reply briefing was accepted on defendants' motion. See Doc. #51.

         The Court turns first to defendants' motion to quash the subpoena.

         B. Motion to Quash

         Defendants seek to quash the subpoena served on Stamford Hospital arguing that it is a “nullity” and “unenforceable” because it was improperly served on defense counsel and not on Stamford Hospital. See Doc. #47 at 1-2. Plaintiffs respond: (1) the subpoena was properly served on Stamford Hospital; (2) the motion to quash is ...


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