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Hansen v. Savage Arms Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Central Division

December 13, 2017

RONALD W. HANSEN, Plaintiff,
v.
SAVAGE ARMS CO.; and SAVAGE ARMS INC., Defendants.

          ORDER

          C.J. WILLIAMS, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I. Background ...................................................................................... 3

         II. Defendant's Motion for Independent Medical Examination ............................. 3

         A. Applicable Law ............................................................................ 3

         B. Discussion .................................................................................. 4

         III. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery ................................................. 8

         A. Meet-and-Confer ........................................................................ 8

         B. Discussion ................................................................................ 8

         1. Objections .............................................................................. 11

         2. Number of Interrogatories ........................................................... 12

         3. Requests for Production .............................................................. 15

         4. Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition ............................................................ 16

         IV. Motion for Extension of Time ........................................................... 17

         A. Background .................................................................... ..... 17

         B. Discussion ........................................................................... 18

         V. Conclusion ..................................................................................... 21

         This matter is before the Court on four motions: 1) defendants'[1] Motion to Require Plaintiff to Submit to an Independent Medical Examination (Doc. 39); 2) plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery (Doc. 40); 3) plaintiff's Motion to Continue Trial and Modify Scheduling Order (Doc. 42); and 4) plaintiff's Alternative Motion to Modify/Extend Scheduling Order and Discovery Plan (Doc. 60).[2] Plaintiff filed an untimely resistance to defendants' motion (Doc. 50). Defendants filed timely resistances to both plaintiff's motions (Docs. 47, 48), and plaintiff timely filed replies to both resistances (Docs. 53, 54). The Court held a hearing on the pending motions on December 6, 2017.

         For the following reasons, defendants' Motion to Require Plaintiff to Submit to an Independent Medical Examination (Doc. 39) is granted; plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery (Doc. 40) is denied in part and granted in part; plaintiff's Motion to Continue Trial and Modify Scheduling Order (Doc. 42) is denied; and plaintiff's Alternative Motion to Modify/Extend Scheduling Order and Discovery Plan (Doc. 60) is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed this case in the Iowa District Court for Franklin County (Doc. 8) and defendants subsequently removed this case to this Court based on diversity jurisdiction (Doc. 2). This Court has diversity jurisdiction.

         Plaintiff alleges that while firing a muzzleloader rifle manufactured by Savage Arms, the muzzleloader exploded, causing plaintiff to suffer severe permanent injury to both his right hand and ear. (Doc. 40-1, at 1). Specifically, plaintiff claims approximately 80% loss of hearing in his right ear as a result of the explosion. (Id.). Prior to the explosion, plaintiff had never undergone an audiogram to objectively test his hearing; however, plaintiff believes that his hearing was unimpaired prior to the explosion. (Doc. 50-1, at 2).

         On November 7, 2017, defendants filed their motion to compel plaintiff to submit to an independent medical examination (“IME”) by Dr. Richard S. Tyler, an otolaryngologist, arguing that without the examination, Dr. Tyler “would be subject to cross-examination based on speculation and lack of foundation.” (Doc. 39-1, at 2-4). Further, defendants argue that the IME is necessary to ascertain “the extent of [p]laintiff's hearing loss and whether the hearing loss was caused by the subject incident, ” and whether plaintiff would require surgery. (Id., at 4). In turn, plaintiff filed his motion to compel discovery and his motion to continue the trial date and modify the scheduling order.

         II. DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINATION

         A. Applicable Law

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 35(a)(1) provides that a court “may order a party whose . . . physical condition . . . is in controversy to submit to a physical . . . examination by a suitably licensed or certified examiner.” Such an order may only be entered upon a showing of good cause and “must specify the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of the examination, as well as the person or persons who will perform it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 35(a)(2). The “good cause” and “in controversy” “requirement[s are] not . . . mere formalit[ies], but . . . plainly expressed limitation[s] on the use of that Rule.” Schlagenhauf v. Holder, 379 U.S. 104, at 118 (1964).

[These requirements] are not met by mere conclusory allegations of the pleadings-nor by mere relevancy to the case-but require an affirmative showing by the movant that each condition as to which the examination is sought is really and genuinely in controversy and that good cause exists for ordering each particular examination. . . . The ...

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