United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Metcalf (“Mr. Metcalf” or
“Plaintiff”) has filed a Complaint against his
former employer, Yale University (“Yale”),
alleging violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment
Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 623 et
seq., and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act
(“CFEPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60 et
seq. See generally Am. Compl., ECF No. 27.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c), Yale has moved for a
protective order to prevent Mr. Metcalf from deposing and
obtaining mental health records from Richard Yun, MD, Amy
Cheng, PhD, and Michael Rigsby, MD, concerning their
treatment of another Yale employee (“Yale
employee”), a non-party to this litigation. ECF No. 53.
following reasons, the motion is GRANTED.
August 29, 2014, Yale ended Mr. Metcalf's employment as
Curator of Coins and Medals of the Yale University Art
Gallery. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 17-18. Mr. Metcalf alleges
that the termination letter, presented by Jock Reynolds, the
Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, contained
“falsehoods, exaggerations and
mischaracterizations” of his behavior during his
employment, specifically that he had entered the women's
bathroom and used offensive language in the workplace.
Id. at ¶17-19.
Metcalf has issued subpoenas and notices of deposition for
Dr. Yun, a psychiatrist, Dr. Cheng, a psychologist, and Dr.
Rigsby, an internist, requesting medical records related to
their treatment of Yale employee since 2009. Def.'s Br. at
2, No. 52-1. Yale employee, Mr. Metcalf's former
assistant, spoke with Mr. Reynolds and a Human Resources
representative, who were conducting an investigation in
response to a report that Mr. Metcalf allegedly had entered
the women's bathroom. Id. During this meeting,
Yale employee allegedly discussed Mr. Metcalf's history
of inappropriate behavior towards her and she allegedly
informed Mr. Reynolds that, as a result of this behavior, she
was being treated by a psychiatrist and taking medication for
emotional distress. Id. It is alleged that Mr.
Reynolds based his decision to terminate Mr. Metcalf, in
part, on Yale employee allegedly reporting that Mr. Metcalf
had caused Yale employee emotional distress. Id.
Reynolds and Yale employee have been deposed, and the
subpoenas at issue were issued in response to Yale
employee's refusal to answer certain questions, while
being deposed concerning her treatment by Dr. Yun. Pl.'s
Opp. Br. at 3, ECF No. 62. Dr. Yun, Dr. Cheng, and Dr. Rigsby
have moved for a protective order preventing Mr. Metcalf from
obtaining medical records from them concerning their
treatment of Yale employee.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c)(1), “[a] person
for whom discovery is sought may move for a protective order
in the court where the action is pending . . . . The court
may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or
person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue
burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). Where the
discovery sought is relevant, the party seeking protection
bears the burden of showing that good cause exists to grant
the motion. Penthouse Int'l, Ltd. v. Playboy Enters.,
Inc., 663 F.2d 371, 391 (2d Cir. 1981) (citations
omitted); Gambale v. Deutsche Bank AG, 377 F.3d 133,
142 (2d Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). Under Rule
45(d)(3)(A), a court is required to quash or modify a
subpoena if it “requires disclosure of privileged or
other protected matter and no exception or waiver
applies.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3)(A)(iii).
asserts that Yale employee's treatment records are not
discoverable and that the records sought are not relevant to
any party's claim or defense as required under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Def.'s Br. at 3. Yale also
contends that the medical records pertaining to Yale
employee's treatment are protected from disclosure under
federal law, since Yale employee has not authorized their
disclosure. Id. Mr. Metcalf argues that Yale
employee's medical and psychological treatment are
discoverable since her medical condition was allegedly a
significant factor in Mr. Reynolds's decision to
terminate Mr. Metcalf. Pl.'s Opp. Br. at 4. Mr. Metcalf
further asserts that Yale employee has waived her privilege
by discussing her medical condition with Mr. Reynolds while
being deposed. Id. at 7. The Court disagrees and
will address each argument in turn.
scope of discovery, unless limited by court order, includes:
[A]ny nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of
the case, 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 ...