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Meeker v. Life Care Centers of America, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

July 20, 2015

MICHELLE MEEKER, Plaintiff,
v.
LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA, INC., d/b/a HERITAGE PARK CARE CENTER; COLORADO MEDICAL INVESTORS, LLC, d/b/a HERITAGE PARK CARE CENTER; TOWN OF CARBONDALE, COLORADO; EUGENE SHILLING, Chief of Carbondale Police Department, in his official and individual capacities; MICHAEL ZIMMERMAN, Police Officer in the Carbondale Police Department, in his official and individual capacities; ROBERT BAKER, Executive Director of LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA, INC.'s Heritage Park Center; JESSICA VARLEY, Human Resources Director of LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA, INC.'s Heritage Park Care Center; and MELANIE HOLMES, Director of Nursing of LIFE CARE CENTERS OF AMERICA, INC.'s Heritage Park Center, Defendants.

ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL

NINA Y. WANG, Magistrate Judge.

This matter comes before the court on Plaintiff Michelle Meeker's ("Plaintiff") Motion to Compel LCCA Defendant'' Disclosures and Discovery Responses Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a), filed on March 9, 2015 [#73] ("Motion to Compel"). Pursuant to the Order of Reference dated July 29, 2014 [#6], the Reassignment dated February 10, 2015 [#58], and the Memorandum dated March 10, 2015 [#76], the Motion to Compel is before this Magistrate Judge. The court has reviewed the pending Motion to Compel, Defendants Life Care Centers of America, Inc. (d/b/a Heritage Park Care Center ("HPCC")) and Colorado Medical Investors LLC's (d/b/a/Heritage Park Care Center) ("Defendants") Response, Plaintiff's Reply, and any exhibits thereto. The court has also reviewed Plaintiff's Motion to Supplement [#134] and Proposed Supplement [#135], and any exhibits thereto. Satisfied that the Motion to Compel can be resolved on the record before the court without the need for oral argument from counsel for the interested Parties, for the reasons discussed below, the court GRANTS the Motion to Compel in part and DENIES the Motion to Compel in part as follows.

BACKGROUND

I. Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff Michelle Meeker ("Plaintiff" or "Ms. Meeker") filed her Complaint in this matter on July 29, 2014. [#1]. The following is a summary of certain relevant allegations contained in Plaintiff's Complaint, which the court uses to frame its consideration of this instant motion.

Ms. Meeker was a registered nurse employed at the HPCC. [#1 at ¶ 1]. Defendant Life Care Centers of America, Inc. allegedly "holds itself out as the owner and operator" of the HPCC, and Defendant Colorado Medical Investors LLC allegedly "owns the Heritage Park property" (collectively, these two Defendants are hereinafter referred to as the "Life Care Defendants" or as "Defendants"). [ Id. at ¶¶ 7-8]. On October 16, 2013, Plaintiff unwittingly participated in a hostage taking preparedness drill conducted at the HPCC. [ Id. ]. During the incident, Defendant Carbondale Police Officer Michael Zimmerman ("Defendant Zimmerman"), allegedly in concert with the Life Care Defendants, posed as a hostage taker, "reveal[ed] a [mock] gun tucked into the waistband of his jeans, " and, inter alia, ordered Ms. Meeker to enter an unattended room at the nursing facility. [ Id. at ¶¶ 32-36, 88]. As a result of the October 16, 2013 hostage taking drill, Ms. Meeker alleges that she left her position at the HPCC, and that she "suffered and continues to suffer significant damages, including severe mental and emotional distress." [ Id. at ¶¶ 1, 75-86].

On the basis of these and other allegations, Plaintiff originally asserted the following claims: claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for unreasonable seizure, excessive force, and false imprisonment in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as against all Defendants; an additional § 1983 claim under the Fourteenth Amendment for purported procedural and substantive due process violations as against all Defendants; a §1983 municipal liability claim against the Town of Carbondale and Sergeant Eugene Schilling ("Defendant Schilling") for alleged failure to adequately train and supervise; and civil assault/battery/false arrest and imprisonment/outrageous conduct claims against Defendant Zimmerman, Defendant Schilling, and the Life Care Defendants. [#1]. By Order dated May 5, 2015, the court dismissed the state law claims brought against the individuals - Defendants Baker, Varley, and Holmes - holding that Workers' Compensation benefits were the only remedy available to Plaintiff for injuries caused by co-workers or superiors in the course of employment. [#120].

II. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend

On February 23, 2015, Plaintiff moved for leave to amend her Complaint to assert additional claims for willful and wanton breach of contract and willful and wanton breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing as against the Life Care Defendants. [#67, #68]. Finding these claims were premised on unenforceable statements in employment related documents, this court previously recommended that leave to amend be denied as futile. [#123]. As of the date of this order, Plaintiff's objection to that Recommendation is pending before the Honorable Wiley Y. Daniel.

III. Entry of Protective Order

On December 31, 2014, this court entered a Protective Order, which provides that qualified discoverable materials may be designated as "Confidential" by a party. [#45]. "Confidential" material may only be shared for purposes of the litigation with the following persons:

[Section 6] a. corporate (in-house) and outside attorneys for each party actively engaged in this litigation and law clerks, paralegals, office clerks and secretaries working under their supervision; b. parties, directors, officers and employees or former employees who are assisting, or have involvement, in the defense of the lawsuit; c. court personnel and/or court reporters who are actively engaged in connection with the preparation for and trial of this litigation; d. expert witnesses retained for consultation or for testimony; and e. any witness with prior knowledge of the information to be disclosed.

[ Id. at 4-5].

IV. Plaintiff's Motion ...


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