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Mendez v. Shah

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

October 23, 2014

MARIA MENDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
RAHUL
v.
SHAH, M.D., et al., Defendants.

MICHAEL T. ROONEY, ROONEY & ROONEY, PHILADELPHIA, PA, Attorney for Plaintiff.

JOHN F. BRENNER, MELISSA ANNE CHUDEREWICZ, PEPPER HAMILTON, LLP, PRINCETON, NJ, Attorneys for defendants Medtronic Sofamaor Danesk USA Inc., Medtronic Spine LLC, Medtronic USA Inc., and Medtronic Inc.

OPINION

NOEL L. HILLMAN, District Judge.

Before the Court is an appeal of the decision of the Magistrate Judge assigned to this matter by defendants Premier Orthopaedic Associates Surgical Center, LLC, Premier Orthopaedic Association of South Jersey, and Rahul V. Shah, M.D. For the reasons stated below, the motion will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

This is a products liability and medical malpractice case brought by plaintiff Maria Mendez following back surgery performed on her by defendant Shah. The factual background was summarized by the Court in Mendez v. Shah, ___ F.Supp.2d ___, 2014 WL 2921023 (D.N.J. June 27, 2014).

During discovery, plaintiff requested from defendant Premier Orthopaedic (Shah's employer) a complete copy of Shah's employment file. Premier Orthopeadics states that it does not maintain an employment file for its doctors. Defendant Inspira Health Network ("Inspira") - the hospital at which Shah is credentialed - maintains credentialing files for all doctors credentialed to practice there, including Shah. The file was started in 2009 when Shah first applied for privileges at the hospital and the process was continued into early 2010 when certain surgical evaluations were performed and recorded in the credentialing file according to the bylaws at the hospital.

Defendants produced the credentialing file with the exception of the following documents:

1. A two-page document labeled "South Jersey Hospital Medical Staff Reappointment Profile, For Peer Review only" which covered the time period of 7/1/09 through 6/30/11;
2. A twenty-two page document titled "Procedural/Surgical Evaluation Forms Confidential Peer Review Documents, " which covered only the 2010 time period; and
3. A two-page document labeled "South Jersey Hospital Medical Staff Reappointment Profile, For Peer Review only, " which covered the time period of 1/1/08 through 12/31/09.

The retained documents were identified in a privilege log and the log was sent to plaintiff's counsel. Defendants then filed a motion for a protective order shielding the retained documents from disclosure under the "self-critical analysis" privilege.

The motion for protective order was heard before the Honorable Joel Schneider, U.S.M.J. who reviewed the peer review file in camera and heard oral argument on February 24, 2014. Judge Schneider ruled that defendants were required to turn over the retained documents to plaintiff's counsel.

Defendants filed an appeal of Judge Schneider's Order and filed a motion to stay Judge Schneider's Order while the appeal of his Order was pending. The motion to stay was ...


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