United States District Court, D. Colorado
ENRIQUEZ L. ORTIVIZ, Plaintiff,
RALPH E. FOLLIN, and NATIONAL FREIGHT, INC., a/k/a National Freight and Logistics, Inc., Defendants.
Michael E. Hegarty, United States Magistrate Judge.
Marrick Medical Finance, LLC seeks to quash National Freight,
Inc.'s subpoena. ECF No. 29. Marrick's motion is
fully briefed, and the Court finds that oral argument will
not assist in its adjudication. Because the information the
subpoena seeks is arguably not subject to the collateral
source rule, and it is relevant and proportional to this
case, the Court denies Marrick's motion to quash.
August 23, 2016, Plaintiff Enriquez Ortiviz filed the
operative Amended Complaint in state court against Ralph
Follin and National Freight and Logistics, Inc. ECF No. 5.
Mr. Ortiviz asserts he was injured in an automobile collision
on February 8, 2014. Id. at ¶ 6. According to
Mr. Ortiviz, while Mr. Follin was driving in his capacity as
an employee of National Freight, Mr. Follin changed lanes on
Interstate 25 and collided with Mr. Ortiviz's vehicle.
Id. at ¶¶ 8-21, 25. As a result, Mr.
Ortiviz suffered physical injuries, and his vehicle was
damaged. Id. at ¶¶ 24-31, 44.
for his substantial physical injuries, Mr. Ortiviz entered
into an agreement with Marrick. ECF No. 29-5. Pursuant to
this agreement, Marrick paid Mr. Ortiviz's medical bills
at a discounted rate it negotiated with the providers.
Id. In return, Mr. Ortiviz granted Marrick a lien
for the full amount of his medical bills on any future
damages he recovers from Defendants. Id.
Ortiviz asserts causes of action for negligence and
negligence per se against Mr. Follin. Id. at
¶¶ 42-55. Additionally, Mr. Ortiviz pleads a
respondeat superior claim against National Freight.
Id. at ¶¶ 56-59. Defendants removed the
case to this District on October 13, 2016. ECF No. 1. The
parties have been participating in discovery since they made
their initial disclosures on November 15, 2016. Scheduling
Order 4, ECF No. 26.
March 4, 2017, National Freight served a subpoena on Marrick,
which requests documents that include the discounted amount
Marrick paid to Mr. Ortiviz's medical providers.
Marrick's Mot. to Quash 3, ECF No. 29; Subpoena to
Produc. Docs., ECF No. 29-1. National Freight seeks to use
this information to show the reasonable value of Mr.
Ortiviz's medical expenses. See National
Freight's Resp. to Marrick's Mot. 11, ECF No. 41.
Marrick contends the amount it pays medical providers is
inadmissible collateral source information. Marrick's
Mot. to Quash 7-9. According to Marrick, it is a collateral
source, because it is wholly independent from the tortfeasor,
and it paid for Mr. Ortiviz's medical expenses after the
accident. Id. Therefore, Marrick contends the
information is not discoverable under Colorado law.
Id. Additionally, Marrick argues the information is
irrelevant and unduly prejudicial. Id. at 8-13.
Freight asserts Marrick is not a collateral source, because
Marrick did not provide a benefit to Mr. Ortiviz. National
Freight's Resp. to Marrick's Mot. to Quash 5-11.
Unlike an insurance company, Mr. Ortiviz remains liable to
Marrick for the full cost of his medical bills. Id.
at 6. Therefore, according to National Freight, there is no
concern that the information will cause the jury to reduce
the amount of any judgment Mr. Ortiviz receives. Id.
Additionally, National Freight argues that amount paid for
medical expenses is relevant to the reasonable value of the
medical care, and disclosure of the information does not
unduly prejudice Marrick. Id. at 11-17. Marrick
filed a Reply in Support of its Motion on June 26, 2017. ECF
No. 42. Marrick contends it provides a benefit to its
clients, because it “sometimes negotiates its lien
balances.” Id. at ¶ 3.
I. Rule 26(b)(1)
scope of discovery under the federal rules is broad.”
Gomez v. Martin Marietta Corp., 50 F.3d 1511, 1520
(10th Cir. 1995). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1)
permits discovery regarding any nonpriviliged matter that is
relevant to a party's claim or defense and proportional
to the needs of the case. Federal Rule of Evidence 401
defines relevant evidence as “evidence having any
tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of
consequence to the determination of the action more or less
probable than it would be without the evidence.” In
considering whether the discovery is proportional to the
needs of the case, Rule 26(b)(1) instructs courts to analyze
“the importance of the issues at stake in the action,
the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access
to relevant information, the parties' resources, the
importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and
whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery
outweighs its likely benefit.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).
The party objecting to discovery must establish that the
requested information does not fall under the scope of
discovery as defined in Fed. R. Civ. P 26(b)(1). Simpson
v. University of Colo., 220 F.R.D. 354, 359 (D. Colo
subpoena served on a third party pursuant to Rule 45 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is subject to the same
standards that govern discovery between the parties-it must
seek relevant information and be proportional to the needs of
the case. Segura v. Allstate Fire & Cas. Ins.
Co., No. 16-cv-00047-NYW, 2016 WL 8737864, at *5 (D.
Colo. Oct. 11, 2016) (citing Rice v. United States,
164 F.R.D. 556, 556-57 (N.D. Okla. 1995)). Rule 45 requires
courts to quash a subpoena that “(i) fails to allow a
reasonable time to comply, (ii) requires a person to comply
beyond the geographical limits specified in Rule 45(c), (iii)
requires disclosure of privileged or other protected matter,
if no exception or waiver applies; or (iv) subjects a person