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Minerley v. Aetna, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 7, 2018

JAY MINERLEY, Individually and as Class Representative, Plaintiff,
v.
AETNA, INC., AETNA HEALTH INC., AETNA HEALTH INSURANCE CO., AETNA LIFE INSURANCE CO., and THE RAWLINGS COMPANY, LLC, Defendants.

          CHARLES THOMAS KANNEBECKER THE LAW OFFICE OF CHARLES KANNEBECKER On behalf of Plaintiff.

          RYAN N. BOLAND JOSEPH M. ARMSTRONG DON P. FOSTER MATTHEW D. ANNUNZIO OFFIT KURMAN, P.A. TEN PENN CENTER On behalf of Plaintiff.

          ANTHONY MICHAEL CHRISTINA LOWEY DANNENBERG, P.C. On behalf of Defendants.

          PETER D. ST. PHILLIP, JR. URIEL RABINOVITZ RICHARD W. COHEN GERALD LAWRENCE LOWEY DANNENBERG, P.C. On behalf of Defendants.

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter concerns alleged violations of New Jersey insurance regulation laws. Plaintiff Jay Minerley appeals Magistrate Judge Karen Williams's December 15, 2017 Discovery Order. For the reasons that follow, the Magistrate Judge's December 15, 2017 Discovery Order will be affirmed.

         I.

         The Court held a status hearing in this matter on June 26, 2017, in which the Court discussed some additional discovery that might be useful in this case, including discovery on certain claims history. On July 11, 2017, the Court issued the following text order:

The Court having considered the parties' letters at docket entries 154 and 156 concerning the current scope of permitted discovery following the status hearing held on June 26, 2017, it shall be, and hereby is ORDERED that Aetna shall provide to Plaintiff the identification of names and addresses of every Weiss-Aug employee, and any covered family member, against whose third party tort recovery Aetna and/or Rawlings asserted, and collected, a subrogation lien.

         Thereafter, the parties had a dispute over the scope of discovery. On November 28, 2017, Plaintiff filed a letter with the Court addressed to the Magistrate Judge concerning “the parties' dispute regarding Defendants' objections to Plaintiff's four interrogatories and four document requests.” Namely, the dispute concerned Plaintiff's request for discovery on the history of Defendants' assertion of subrogation liens in plans involving other New Jersey employers.

         Following a telephone conference, on December 15, 2017, the Magistrate Judge entered a Discovery Order stating: “The request to conduct discovery as to other plan members in analogous plans who have out of state employees with subrogation claims is DENIED.” Plaintiff filed an appeal of the Discovery Order on December 29, 2017.

         II.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a) provides:

When a pretrial matter not dispositive of a party's claim or defense is referred to a magistrate judge to hear and decide, the magistrate judge must promptly conduct the required proceedings and, when appropriate, issue a written order stating the decision. A party may serve and file objections to the order within 14 days after being served with a copy. A party may not assign as error a defect in the order not timely objected to. The district judge in the case must ...

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