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Hall v. MLS National Medical Evaluations

January 9, 2008

TERRY HALL, PLAINTIFF
v.
MLS NATIONAL MEDICAL EVALUATIONS, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS/THIRD PARTY PLAINTIFFS
v.
JAMES TEMPLIN, M.D., AND WAUSAU BENEFITS, INC., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James B. Todd United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

On April 1, 2005, plaintiff Terry Hall filed this action in Fayette Circuit Court (Civil Action No. 05-CI-1486) against defendant MLS National Medical Evaluations, Inc. (hereafter "MLS"), alleging that the conduct of MLS had resulted in the unwarranted termination of his ERISA benefits. Specifically, plaintiff asserts that MLS provided his ERISA administrator with a materially-altered and falsified report of an independent medical evaluation by Dr. James W. Templin and that due to this falsified report, his ERISA administrator terminated his long-term disability benefits. Plaintiff also claims that once he brought this matter to the attention of his ERISA administrator, viz., that his ERISA benefits had been wrongfully terminated, his ERISA benefits were reinstated.

Plaintiff's claims against defendant MLS are for intentional and improper interference with his existing and prospective contractual relationship, for outrageous conduct, for fraudulent misrepresentation, for concealment and nondisclosure, for negligent misrepresentation, for bad faith, for violations of Kentucky's Fraudulent Insurance Act, and for injunctive relief. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

On May 10, 2005, defendant MLS removed this action from Fayette Circuit Court, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

Subsequently, plaintiff amended his complaint, naming additional defendants herein. On August 4, 2006, defendants filed a third party complaint against third-party defendants James Templin, M.D., and Wausau Benefits, Inc.

This matter is before the court on plaintiff's motion to compel discovery from the defendants. This motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for review.

Pursuant to numerical ¶ 5 of the district court's Scheduling Order entered herein on October 11, 2005, all discovery disputes were referred to the Magistrate Judge for resolution. [DE #11].

II. PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL

Plaintiff has moved to compel defendants to answer Interrogatory No. 1. As grounds for this motion, plaintiff asserts that defendants should be required to supplement their answer to Interrogatory No. 1 by providing him with the requested information for the following two reasons:

(1) this cause of action stems from a medical record (the report of plaintiff's IME) that was apparently altered either by MLS or by an independent contractor employed by MLS, and (2) MLS acknowledged in its Rule 30(b)(6) deposition that it had made no inquiry as to how this medical record in question was apparently altered or could have been altered. For these same reasons, plaintiff contends that he is also entitled to discover from MLS the identity of those individuals who transcribed medical records in the capacity as independent contractors for MLS in December 2003 and January 2004 who may have transcribed the medical record at issue.

Defendants objects to plaintiff's motion to compel, arguing that plaintiff has provided no reasonable, relevant basis for the additional disclosure of the names or identities of their employees. Defendants assert that the employees with any knowledge or role in preparing Mr. Hall's report have been identified and deposed by the plaintiff. Consequently, defendants contend that there can be no relevant purpose to plaintiff's obtaining the identities of any additional employees. In short, defendants assert that this request by the plaintiff is nothing more than a fishing expedition for the purposes of harassment or intimidation of the defendants, which should not be permitted. In support of their argument, defendants rely on Steinbach v. Credigy Receivables, Inc., an action filed in ...


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