United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
M.R., by and through her parents, N.R. and A.R., et al., Plaintiffs,
AZIN TAJDAR, Defendant.
CHARLES B. DAY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
16, 2019, Plaintiffs M.R., a minor child, and her parents,
A.R. and N.R., (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed
a Motion to Quash (the “Motion”) seeking to
suppress a subpoena Defendant Azin Tajdar issued to
non-parties. ECF No. 38. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and
Local Rules 301 and 302, this matter was referred to this
Court by the Honorable Theodore D. Chuang for all discovery
and related scheduling matters. ECF No. 34. The Court has
reviewed the Motion, the opposition thereto, the related
memoranda, and the applicable law. No. hearing is deemed
necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md.). For the
reasons stated herein, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiff's Motion in part and DENIES
Plaintiffs' Motion in part. A separate order shall issue.
December 29, 2017, Plaintiffs filed the underlying civil
action alleging that Defendant discriminated against
Plaintiff M.R. (“M.R.”) on the basis of her
disability by failing to make a reasonable accommodation for
M.R. at Defendant's home-based state-licensed day care
facility and subsequently dismissed her from the program.
Pls.' Compl., ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs asserted claims under
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181- 12189
(2012). Pls.' Compl. ¶¶ 70-71. Plaintiffs later
amended their complaint, adding claims under the
anti-discrimination provisions of the Maryland Code as well
as for common law negligence. Pls.' Am. Compl.
¶¶ 76-78 (Mar. 26, 2018), ECF No. 13. On November
19, 2018, Judge Chuang partially granted Defendant's
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), eliminating Plaintiffs' claims for damages
under the ADA, all of Plaintiffs' Maryland statutory
claims, and the claims for common law negligence. Order,
Chuang, J., ECF No. 21. Defendant subsequently filed her
answer in which she denied the allegations raised against
her. Def.'s Answer (Nov. 27, 2018), ECF No. 22.
April 2, 2019, Defendant served by certified mail a subpoena
on Potomac Pediatrics and Dr. Caren Glassman,  non-parties to
the underlying matter. See Cover Letter and Subpoena
Duces Tecum, Opp'n of Def. (“Def.'s
Opp'n”), ECF No. 38-2, Ex. 2. Dr. Glassman is
M.R.'s treating pediatrician at Potomac Pediatrics.
Pls.' Mem. 2. In the subpoena, Defendant sought:
[A]ll records, films, and bills for [M.R.] in your possession
or control, including but not limited to the following: 1)
All patient information forms; 2) Patient questionnaires; 3)
Nurse's notes; 4) Doctor's notes; 5) Doctor's and
nurse's orders; 6) Laboratory and prescription records;
7) Consultation records; 8) History and physicals; 9) All
x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and any and all other radiological
and/or radiographic diagnostic imagery; 10) All reports of
x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and any and all other
radiologic/radiographic diagnostic imagery; 11) All bills,
invoices, statements, and payments; and 12) The complete
chart pertaining to any and all medical treatment rendered
from January 1, 2003, up to and including the present
Opp'n, Ex. 2 at 5-6. On April 3, 2019, Defendant's
counsel notified Plaintiffs' counsel of the subpoena.
Def.'s Mem. 4; Pls.' Mem. 7. On April 9, 2019,
counsel for all parties held a telephone conference and
discussed discovery issues relating to the case. Pls.'
Mem. 6-7. At that time, Plaintiffs' counsel “raised
concern about the subpoena at issue, a discussion followed,
and [Plaintiffs'] counsel advised [Defendant's]
counsel of plans to file a motion to quash.”
Id. at 7 (emphasis omitted). On April 12, 2019,
Defendant's counsel notified Plaintiffs' counsel that
Potomac Pediatrics had produced and delivered the requested
medical records to Defendant's counsel's office the
day before. Id. Plaintiffs requested Defendant's
counsel return the documents until their concerns regarding
the subpoena were resolved. Id. Defendant's
counsel complied with that request. Id. On May 16,
2019, Plaintiffs filed this Motion.
threshold matter, this Court must determine whether
Plaintiffs have demonstrated they have standing to challenge
Defendant's subpoenas issued to third parties. The Fourth
Circuit has held that “[o]rdinarily, a party does not
have standing to challenge a subpoena issued to a nonparty,
” however, a party may do so if it “claims some
personal right or privilege in the information sought by the
subpoena.” United States v. Idema, 118
Fed.Appx. 740, 744 (4th Cir. 2005). The Court notes that
Defendant does not dispute that Plaintiffs have standing to
file the present motion to quash. Further, it is undisputed
that an individual has an interest in the personal
information contained in her medical records. See Mezu v.
Morgan State Univ., Civ. No. WMN-09-2855, 2011 WL
5110269, at *2 (D. Md. Oct. 25, 2011), aff'd, 495
Fed.Appx. 286 (4th Cir. 2012) (noting that a party might not
have standing to challenge a subpoena seeking a third
party's medical records, but not questioning whether the
third party has standing to challenge the subpoena of her own
records). Accordingly, the Court finds Plaintiffs have
standing to bring this Motion.
Motion to Quash Subpoena
to the merits of the Motion, Plaintiffs argue that the
requested medical records contain “no
information” relating to Plaintiffs' claims of
discrimination or Defendant's defenses. Pls.' Mem.
3-4. Plaintiffs assert that M.R.'s autism diagnosis is
the only health issue relevant to the case and that they have
turned over all information pertaining to the diagnosis, that
Dr. Glassman was not the provider who made the diagnosis, and
that any additional medical information would be beyond the
scope of this litigation. Id. at 3-4. Plaintiffs
also assert a general claim that the information requested is
highly sensitive information that is “privileged and
protected.” Id. at 1.
argues that the requested records contain relevant
information to defend from the allegations of discrimination.
Def. Opp'n 5. While Defendant admits that she
“observed elements of developmental delay while caring
for M.R. and expressed concerns thereof to M.R.'s
parents, ” Defendant asserts that she was not aware of
M.R.'s diagnosis and was not provided with any
information confirming her diagnosis. Id. at 3, 5.
In her opposition, Defendant includes documents that she
states indicate that Dr. Glassman completed a medical form
giving M.R. a “clean bill of health” just prior
to M.R.'s diagnosis of autism. Id. at 6.
Defendant argues that, in a case concerning a child's
medical condition, the child's treating
pediatrician's records are “clearly discoverable as
relevant to the defense . . . .” Id. Defendant
also asserts that the records likely contain M.R.'s
medical history as relayed by her parents, which Defendant
argues could include “parental behavioral observations,
statements regarding daycare issues, other health care
providers, and a potential array of information relevant to
assessing [M.R.'s] claimed disability.”
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern the scope of
discovery: “Parties 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). Accordingly, it is
“relevance and not admissibility” that determines
whether a matter is discoverable. Herchenroeder v. Johns
Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab., 171 F.R.D. 179, 181
(D. Md. 1997). “Relevance is not, on its own, a high
bar.” Virginia Dep't of Corr. v. Jordan,
921 F.3d 180, 188 (4th Cir. 2019). “Information sought
need only ‘appear[ ] [to be] reasonably calculated to
lead to the discovery of admissible evidence' to pass
muster.” CX Reinsurance Co. Ltd. v. City Homes,
Inc., Civ. No. JKB-17-1476, 2018 WL 5080944, at *2 (D.
Md. Oct. 18, 2018) (quoting Innovative Therapies, Inc. v.
Meents, 302 F.R.D. 364, 377 (D. Md. 2014)). However,
“the simple fact that requested information is
discoverable under Rule 26(a) does not mean that discovery
must be had.” Nicholas v. Wyndham Int'l
Inc., 373 F.3d 537, 543 (4th Cir. 2004). What ...