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Colligan v. Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

November 2, 2018

R. Lacey Colligan
v.
Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic

          William E. Christie, Esq., Natalie J. Laflamme, Esq., Timothy John McLaughlin, Esq., William D. Pandolph, Esq., Christopher James Pyles, Esq.

          ORDER

          Joseph A. DiClerico, Jr. United States District Judge.

         R. Lacey Colligan filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinic (“Dartmouth-Hitchcock”), alleging disability discrimination, infliction of emotional distress, and defamation. Colligan moved to exclude Dartmouth-Hitchcock's expert witness, Bonnie Michelman, a proposed expert in medical center security, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(c)(1). The court granted that motion in part and, among other sanctions, ordered Michelman to sit for a second deposition at the convenience of Colligan's counsel. Colligan now moves to compel Michelman to answer questions at her second deposition about her experience and qualifications. Dartmouth-Hitchcock objects.

         Standard of Review

         A court may compel a deponent to answer a question that is relevant, proper, and not otherwise privileged if the deponent has “fail[ed] to answer a question asked under” Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30 or 31. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B)(i). An expert witness must disclose the bases and reasons for her opinion. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(B); Fed.R.Evid. 702.

         Background

         Colligan, a medical doctor, was an independent contractor performing research with Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Dartmouth-Hitchcock asserts that, early in the morning on September 1, 2015, the wife of a Dartmouth-Hitchcock executive reported that a person, later identified as Colligan, came to her house and threatened her and her husband. Dartmouth-Hitchcock terminated its relationship with Colligan the same day and prohibited her from accessing its public medical facility except for emergency services and scheduled appointments. Colligan, who has post-traumatic stress disorder, asserts in this lawsuit that Dartmouth-Hitchcock's termination of her contract and restriction of her access to the medical center constituted discrimination against her based on her disability.

         In her preliminary report, Michelman opines that “[t]he decision that [Dartmouth-Hitchcock] made to terminate Dr. Colligan and restrict her from the medical campus except for medical care needed for her or her family was reasonable given her behavior.” Doc. 52-3 at 3. She states that Dartmouth- Hitchcock's actions on September 1, 2015, were “appropriate and consistent with the reasonable practices [i]n other medical centers.” Id. at 4.

         Michelman adds that she formed her opinion using her knowledge of “the escalation of risks, threats and violence in healthcare” as well as her “30 plus years of experience as an expert, consultant, practitioner, and industry leader.” Id. at 2-3. She states that the methodology she used in forming her opinion “is consistent with good and accepted practices within the security industry . . . .” Id.

         Michelman's curriculum vitae and her testimony show that she has worked at Massachusetts General Hospital (“MGH”) for at least twenty-seven years. Therefore, Michelman's experience at MGH forms the vast majority of the experience to which she cites.

         Discussion

         Colligan moves to compel Michelman to answer questions in three categories. First, Colligan seeks to compel answers “about MGH's security policies and procedures, as well as the differences where applicable between such policies for MGH and Defendants, specifically regarding disruptive people, workplace violence and conflict and safeguarding people who may be victims of crime or threats or fear.” Doc. 52-1 at 3-4. Second, Colligan seeks answers to questions about Michelman's “operations” at MGH. Third, Colligan seeks from Michelman “the details of her experiences at MGH and other hospitals regarding specific instances of escalating risks, threats, and violence . . . .” Id. at 5. In response, Dartmouth-Hitchcock argues that these questions seek irrelevant information because Michelman developed her opinion using her general experience, not her specific experiences at MGH.

         A. Comparisons of Policies and Procedures

         During her first deposition, Michelman refused to answer questions about MGH's security policies and procedures and questions about the differences, if any, between MGH's policies and procedures and those used at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Michelman cited the confidential and proprietary nature of the information in refusing to answer the questions. Colligan moves to compel those answers at Michelman's second deposition. Dartmouth-Hitchcock ...


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