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Madsen v. Idaho Emergency Physicians

March 23, 2010

JULIE MADSEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
IDAHO EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS, P.A., AND DAVID KIM, MD. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Edward J. Lodge U. S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

Before the Court is Plaintiff Julie Madsen's Motion for Leave to Conduct the Deposition of Lee Ann Young (Docket No. 50). Also before the Court is Defendants' Idaho Emergency Physicians, P.A. ("IEP") and David Kim's Motion to Strike (Docket No. 46). The Court denies Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Conduct the Deposition of Lee Ann Young. The Court grants Defendants' Motion to Strike regarding the objected-to portions of Julie Klein Fischer's First Affidavit and Batul Aarti's Affidavit but denies all other objections.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Julie Madsen is a medical doctor, board-certified in emergency medicine, and licensed to practice in Idaho. Plaintiff began work for Defendant IEP in February 2002 as an emergency department physician. At the same time, Plaintiff continued her employment as the medical director for Canyon County Paramedics and Northwest Paramedics. IEP is a group of emergency medicine physicians that contract with Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center to provide emergency department services. Defendant David Kim is also a physician for and shareholder of IEP. In March 2003, Plaintiff became a shareholder in IEP.

In January 2004, Plaintiff became pregnant with twins. Plaintiff stopped working in July 2004 because of pregnancy complications. Plaintiff was on maternity leave from September 2004, when her children were born, through December 31, 2004. Plaintiff returned to work for IEP on January 1, 2005, after which time she suffered from then-undiagnosed post-partum depression. To deal with her post-partum depression, Plaintiff's took a six-month leave of absence from January 1, 2006 through July 1, 2006. On July 14, 2006, Plaintiff resigned as an IEP shareholder but not as an IEP employee. Plaintiff never returned to work for IEP.

Plaintiff filed a complaint in this court and argues that IEP engaged in unlawful employment practices by discriminating against Plaintiff because of her gender and disability, and by retaliating against Plaintiff when Plaintiff voiced her concerns and sought help for her disability. Specifically, Plaintiff argues that IEP did not permit her to return to work after her leave of absence, that IEP did not give her "shift relief" for hours worked outside IEP that IEP had given to other male physicians, that IEP required her to pay for benefits during her 2004 medical leave of absence, and that IEP disseminated information about her leave of absence outside IEP.

MOTION FOR LEAVE TO CONDUCT DEPOSITION

I. Procedural Background

In Plaintiff'sMotion for Leave to Conduct the Deposition of Lee Ann Young, Plaintiff requests that this Court reopen discovery because Defendants did not produce the minutes from a January 2006 shareholders' meeting nor photographs taken of Plaintiff's locker at IEP until August 10, 2009, three days after the close of discovery. See Order (Docket No. 24) (ordering all discovery, with the exception of expert witness depositions, completed by August 7, 2009). Plaintiff asserts that Ms. Young is an important witness to Plaintiff's case because Ms. Young took the minutes during the January 26 shareholders' meeting and Ms. Young appears in the photographs taken of Plaintiff's locker. Fischer Aff., ¶¶ 10--11, 14, 15 (Docket No. 51, SEALED).

Plaintiff also asserts that the January 2006 minutes and the locker photographs are important pieces of evidence because Plaintiff was removed from the IEP Board of Directors at the January 26 shareholders' meeting, which she argues was an act of retaliation, Fischer Aff. ¶¶ 4--5 (Docket No. 51, SEALED); and because Plaintiff alleges that her locker at IEP was broken into and her items were stolen, Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiff claims that she did "not fully underst[and]" that Ms. Young was an important witness to her case until the January 2006 minutes and the locker photographs were produced. Id. ¶ 15.

The Court ordered discovery, with the exception of expert witness depositions, to be completed by August 7, 2009. Order (Docket No. 24). Defendants mailed the January 2006 minutes and the locker photographs to Plaintiff's counsel on Friday, August 7, 2009, the last day of discovery. Fischer Aff., ¶ 8 (Docket No. 51, SEALED). On Monday, August 10, 2009, Plaintiff's counsel took a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) deposition of IEP. Id. ¶ 3. At that deposition, IEP's counsel provided Plaintiff's counsel with the January 2006 minutes and the locker photographs because those documents had not yet arrived at the office of Plaintiff's counsel. Id. ¶¶ 8, 10--11. On December 1, 2009, nearly four months after the minutes and photographs were produced, Plaintiff moved for leave to conduct the deposition of Lee Ann Young. Mot. Leave Conduct Dep. Lee Ann Young (Docket No. 50).

II. Discussion

To decide whether to reopen discovery, a Court considers the following factors:

whether trial is imminent; whether the request is opposed; whether the non-moving party would be prejudiced; whether the moving party was diligent in obtaining discovery within the guidelines established by the court; the foreseeability of the need for additional discovery in light of the time allowed for discovery by the district court; and the likelihood that the discovery will lead to relevant evidence. United States ex rel. Schumer v. Hughes Aircraft Co., 63 F.3d 1512, 1526 (9th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted), vacated on other grounds, 520 U.S. 939 (1997). The decision to reopen discovery is within the discretion of this Court, and this Court does not abuse its discretion unless "the movant diligently pursued its previous discovery opportunities, and if the movant can show how allowing additional discovery would have precluded summary judgment." Panatronic USA v. AT&T Corp., 287 F.3d 840, 846 (9th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Considering the above factors, the Court deniesPlaintiff's Motion for Leave to Conduct the Deposition of Lee Ann Young. First, Plaintiff could have foreseen the need to depose Ms. Young prior to Defendants' late production of the January 2006 minutes and the locker photographs. Plaintiff does not dispute that before the close of discovery she was aware that the minutes from the January 2006 meeting existed; that Ms. Young took the minutes at IEP meetings; and that Ms. Young was involved in the discovery of Plaintiff's locker items. See Pl. Reply, at 2--3 (Docket No. 54). Accordingly, Plaintiff knew or should ...


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