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Anchondo-Galaviz v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 4, 2019

ABRIL ANCHONDO-GALAVIZ, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF

          NINA Y. WANG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the court is Non-Party Marrick Medical Finance, LLC's Motion for Relief from July 19, 2019 Order and Immediate Stay Pending Ruling (“Motion for Relief”), filed July 24, 2019, [#84], that was referred to this Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), the Order of Reference dated June 11, 2019, [#52], and the Memorandum dated July 25, 2019, [#85]. Having reviewed the Parties' briefing [#84; #98], the entire docket, and the applicable case law, this court finds that oral argument would not materially assist in the resolution of this matter and DENIES the Motion for Relief and ORDERS responses to the subpoena consistent with the court's July 19, 2019 Order no later than September 10, 2019.

         BACKGROUND

         The background of this case has been detailed in other Orders, see e.g. [#77; #88], and therefore will be summarized only as pertinent to the issue presented in the Motion for Relief by Non-Party Marrick Medical Finance, LLC (“Marrick” or “Marrick Medical”). This case arises from an automobile collision that occurred on May 3, 2018, between Plaintiff Abril Anchondo-Galaviz (“Plaintiff” or “Ms. Anchondo-Galaviz”) and a third-party tortfeasor. [#3]. As a result of the collision, Ms. Anchondo-Galaviz sought underinsured motorist coverage (“UIM”) benefits from her insurance carrier Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“Defendant” or “State Farm”). [Id. at ¶ 25]. State Farm did not provide Plaintiff with the benefits she sought, and this action followed.

         During discovery in this matter, Plaintiff testified that Marrick paid for her most recent visit with her treating physician, Dr. Masri. [#29-1 at 42:15-17].[1] She further testified that after every doctor's appointment, Marrick called her for a “wellness check.” [Id. at 42:18-43:2]. On March 22, 2019, Defendant served Marrick a subpoena seeking contents of its file related to Plaintiff, including medical records and payments. [#38]. It appears that on April 8, 2019, counsel for Marrick contacted counsel for State Farm to inform him that Marrick had received the subpoena, and then sought to quash the subpoena, arguing that the information sought was not relevant in part, at least, because of Colorado's collateral source rule and was further precluded based on the work product doctrine. [#38]. This court disagreed, and on July 19, 2019, granted State Farm's Motion to Compel and ordered Marrick to respond to the subpoena no later than July 26, 2019. [#77 at 21].

         On July 24, 2019, Marrick filed the instant Motion for Relief seeking relief under Rule 60(b)(1) and (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing inter alia that State Farm had failed to inform the court that Marrick had objected to the subpoena and had informed State Farm that it was withholding documents because

Plaintiff is asserting her right to medical privacy. . . . To be clear we are withholding documents that the Plaintiff is not in possession of. However, you requested a lot of records from Marrick that you are likely in possession of as well as the Plaintiff. That is what was unreasonable about your requests. That is why you did not take reasonable steps to avoid imposing an undue burden on a nonparty to this litigation.

[#84 at 3, 5; #84-5]. Marrick further contended that it should be relieved from the court's July 19 Order because it did not have an opportunity to be heard in the context of Plaintiff's Motion to Quash. [#84].

         Defendant responded on August 1, 2019, arguing that it had “never argued that Marrick failed to object or sought relief against Marrick in this case, ” and that “Marrick had ample notice of this dispute and took no action other than to object to the Subpoena.” [#98 at 1-2]. State Farm further contends that Marrick's objections were not “material” to the disputes before the court but would only be relevant in a separate motion to compel against Marrick that has yet to be filed. [Id. at 7]. I consider the Parties' arguments and issues below.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides:

On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons:
(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; ...

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