United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Weiss Ford, Esq.
V. Maxwell, Esq.
C. Nixon, Esq.
P. Slawsky, Esq.
Van Oot, Esq.
A. DiClerico, Jr. United States District Judge
Rutledge brings claims against her former employer, Elliot
Health System and Elliot Hospital, for age discrimination and
wrongful termination. Rutledge moves to compel the defendants
to produce a patient chart with personal identifiers redacted
and records generated by the Exceptional Beginnings Quality
Review Committee. The defendants represent that they agreed
to produce the patient chart at issue after a
“Qualified Protective Order was in place” but
object to producing records of the Exceptional Beginnings
Quality Review Committee.
support of her motion to compel, Rutledge states that she was
a nurse in the labor and delivery department at Elliot
Hospital from 1990 until she was terminated on June 11, 2014.
She states that she had outstanding reviews every year. The
reasons given for her termination by Elliot Hospital included
the care given to a patient on May 22, 2014.
Wellde, Elliott Hospital's Clinical Nurse Educator, told
Rutledge that a review of the care provided to the patient on
May 22 was being done by the Exceptional Beginnings Quality
Review Committee (“Committee”). The review was
begun because of the length of time the patient's fetal
monitor strip was of poor quality and the documentation
during the second stage of the patient's labor. Rutledge
continued to work full time while the Committee conducted its
11, Rutledge met with Sarah Meade, director of the
women's and children's division at Elliot Hospital,
and Nicole Dawson, from the human resources department. At
the meeting, Rutledge was told that her employment was
terminated. Elliot Hospital then sent a report to the New
Hampshire Board of Nursing, accusing Rutledge of
unprofessional conduct. Elliot Hospital also opposed
Rutledge's claim for unemployment benefits, but Rutledge
prevailed after a two-day hearing.
the third discovery dispute that the parties have failed to
resolve and have instead involved the court. In the prior two
disputes, the court denied the motions to compel without
prejudice and directed counsel to confer and to use their
good faith efforts to resolve those matters without further
involvement of the court. One of the issues raised in the
current motion, privilege under RSA 151:13-a, was raised
previously, but not decided, because Rutledge had not
complied with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
37(a)(1). Despite the court's expectation that the
parties would resolve these matters, a third motion to compel
has been filed.
may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that
is relevant to any party's claim or defense and
proportional to the needs of the case . . . .”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). When disputes arise, a party may move
to compel discovery, after first attempting in good faith to
resolve the problem without court action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a).
Initially, the party moving to compel bears the burden of
showing that the discovery it seeks is relevant.
Koninklijke Philips N.V. v. Wangs Alliance Corp.,
2018 WL 283893, at *1 (D. Mass. Jan. 2, 2018)
(citing Continental Western Ins. Co. v. Opechee Constr.
Corp., 2016 WL 1642626, at *1 (D.N.H. Apr. 25, 2016)).
If that burden is met, “the objecting party bears the
burden of showing that a discovery request is
improper.” Continental Western, 2016 WL
1642626, at *1.
moves to compel the defendants to produce the patient chart
for care provided by Rutledge on May 22, 2014, and filed a
proposed protective order to comply with the requirements of
the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(“HIPAA”). Rutledge also moves to compel production
of records of the Committee's investigation into her care
provided on May 22, and to require the defendants to produce
a summary of other Committee records. The defendants object
to those requests on the grounds that the proposed protective
order does not comply with HIPAA requirements, ...