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Court Compels Discovery in Pennsylvania MRSA Death Case

In a federal action stemming from the MRSA and/or staph infection related deaths of two Allegheny County Jail prisoners, a Pennsylvania federal court granted Plaintiff's motion to compel discovery from Allegheny County Health Services, Inc.

The court rejected Defendants' blanket claim of work product privilege to resist providing insurance and risk management claims documents. "At least some responsive documents will fall outside the protection of the work product privilege and will be discoverable," the court held,

The court also rejected Defendants' relevancy objection to nurse personnel files. "Considering the broad standard as to the scope of discovery," the court found that "as nurses employed by the Allegheny Correctional Health Services and in a case regarding the deaths of two inmates while incarcerated, [the] information is relevant to plaintiff's claims and may lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, even if the personnel files themselves are inadmissible."

The court refused to compel discovery of several categories of documents due to Defendants' representations that: they had provided, or would provide, all responsive documents; or no responsive documents exist. Additionally, finding that several of Plaintiff's discovery requests were too broad, the court granted leave to narrow the scope of those requests so they relate to MRSA, staph infection and the claims at issue in the action. See: Howard v. Rustin, USDC No. 06-00200, 2008 US Dist LEXIS 37235 (W D Pa 2008).

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Related legal case

Howard v. Rustin