United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MICHAEL GRIEGO, Personal Representative of the Wrongful Death Estate of ALEC J. JARAMILLO, Deceased, ANDREW JARAMILLO and TERESA ROMO, Plaintiffs,
LABERTA M. DOUGLAS, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Russell E. Douglas, and STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. RITTER U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for
Order Resetting Pre-Trial Deadlines and Expanding the
Court's May 24, 2018 Order (Doc. 85), filed August 13,
2018. [Doc. 135]. Defendants have filed a Response and
Plaintiffs elected not to file a Reply. [See Docs.
136, 139]. Having carefully considered the matter, the Court
will grant Plaintiffs' Motion for the reasons set forth
case arises from a car-on-motorcycle collision occurring
September 13, 2014. On that date decedent Alec Jaramillo was
struck by Russell Douglas, who allegedly failed to yield the
right of way. Plaintiffs contend that Mr. Douglas caused the
collision. Specifically, they argue that Mr. Douglas'
vison-related deficits and health issues impaired his ability
to safely operate a motor vehicle on the subject date.
[See Doc. 135, pp. 1-2]. Defendants deny liability.
They also deny that it was Mr. Douglas' vision that
caused the subject collision. [See Doc. 136, p. 2');">p. 2
(“Mr. Douglas' medical records indicate that he
could see well, but that he was having a problem seeing the
notes in his church's hymnal book.”).
Unfortunately, Mr. Douglas died during the early stages of
this case. [See Doc. 11].
closed on February 28, 2018, and discovery-related motions
were due by March 7, 2018. Well before these deadlines,
Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Compel Defendants to execute a
medical release for Mr. Douglas, among other things.
[See Doc. 56]. Briefing was completed on February 8,
2018. [See Doc. 71]. On May 24, 2018, this Court
granted Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel in part.
[See Doc. 85]. Pertinent here, the Court found that
first, Mr. Douglas' medical history is relevant to
Plaintiff's negligence claims under Rule 26(b)(1);
second, Mr. Douglas' medical history is generally
privileged and neither Defendant nor Mr. Douglas has waived
the privilege merely by participating this lawsuit and
denying fault; third, now that Mr. Douglas is deceased,
Plaintiffs have the right to examine any records that bear
upon their claim that his negligence caused the collision at
[Id., p. 16]. Accordingly, the Court ordered
Defendants to execute a medical release for Mr. Douglas
“limited to ‘any medical conditions that could
interfere with driving' and the quality of Mr.
Douglas' vision at the time of the collision.”
[Id.]. The Court further limited the release to one
year preceding the collision. [Id., p. 17].
trial was set for July 23, 2018. [Doc. 68]. Defendants
produced a release, as ordered, on June 25, 2018. “The
following morning, June 26, 2018, Plaintiffs immediately
commenced requesting Mr. Douglas' medical records.”
[Doc. 105, p. 2');">p. 2]. And, on July 5, 2018, Plaintiffs moved to
continue trial, citing prejudice if forced to proceed to
trial without the ability to present evidence
“regarding Mr. Douglas' ability to see
properly.” [Id., p. 3]. Presiding magistrate
judge Molzen granted Plaintiffs' Motion to Continue on
July 11, 2018. [Doc. 122]. However, she reset it for January
28, 2019. [Doc. 133].
now move the Court to “issue an order expanding the
time-frame Plaintiffs may seek Mr. Douglas' medical
records, reopen discovery, [and] reset fact and expert
witness disclosure deadlines[.]” [Doc. 135, p. 9]. In
support, Plaintiffs cite evidence that Mr. Douglas had
several impairments that could have affected his vision on
the date in question. [See id., p. 3]. Defendants do
not dispute that Mr. Douglas' medical records are
relevant; instead, they argue prejudice, raise an evidentiary
objection, and argue that Mr. Douglas' medical condition
is privileged. [See Doc. 136, pp. 2');">p. 2-4].
or not to reopen discovery is within the sound discretion of
the district court. Smith v. United States, 834 F.2d
166, 169 (10th Cir. 1987). The Tenth Circuit has identified
six relevant factors to be considered when deciding whether
to reopen discovery:
1) whether trial is imminent, 2) whether the request is
opposed, 3) whether the non-moving party would be prejudiced,
4) whether the moving party was diligent in obtaining
discovery within the guidelines established by the court, 5)
the foreseeability of the need for additional discovery in
light of the time allowed for discovery by the district
court, and 6) the likelihood that the discovery will lead to