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Fralick v. Chautauqua County Chapter of American National Red Cross

February 9, 2007

PATRICIA FRALICK AND DEAN FRALICK, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY CHAPTER OF AMERICAN NATIONAL RED CROSS AND AMERICAN NATIONAL RED CROSS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

This matter was referred to the undersigned by the Hon. William M. Skretny, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), for all pretrial matters. Dkt. #9.

In this action, plaintiff Patricia Fralick ("plaintiff"), alleges that she sustained deep vein thrombosis ("DVT"), in her left arm with residual nerve damage following her donation of blood to the defendants on March 31, 2005. Dkt. #1.

Currently before the Court is defendants' letter request, dated January 25, 2007, for assistance resolving discovery issues. Specifically, defendants seek:

1. authorizations permitting disclosure of plaintiff's medical records preceding the alleged incident;

2. extension of the deadline for completing discovery to April 27, 2007 and a corresponding extension of all subsequent deadlines;

3. extension of the deadline to initiate mediation until discovery is completed; and

4. a qualified protective order and authorization permitting ex parte interviews of plaintiff's physicians.

In addition, defendants seek an order staying plaintiff's deposition pending resolution of these issues, while plaintiffs seek to compel the depositions currently scheduled for February 12 and 16 to go forward.

Discovery of Pre-Incident Medical & Psychological Records

Defendants argue that they should be permitted to discover plaintiff's pre-incident medical records to assess potential causes for her injuries other than the collection of blood by defendants. Defendants also seek pre-incident psychological records to assess whether psychological causes may be contributing to her allegations of continuing pain.

Plaintiff's counsel objects to these requests. With respect to the request for prior medical records, plaintiff's counsel disputes defendants' characterization of her treating physicians' notes regarding causation. With respect to the request for psychological records, plaintiff's counsel asserts that

The defendant's [sic] attorney's attempts to inject a psychiatric component into this case are also misplaced. There is no issue in the case which would justify giving the defendant's [sic] attorney permission to delve into highly personal, private and completely unrelated matters. The scope of discovery is dictated by the conditions affirmatively placed at issue by the plaintiff's allegations. The doctor-patient privilege is waived only with regard to relevant medical treatment.

In her response to defendants' first set of interrogatories, plaintiff claims damages for "DVT (deep vein thrombosis) of the left upper extremity and left brachial plexus neuritis, complex regional pain syndrome, post-traumatic stress, ...


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