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Alfaro v. D. Las Vegas, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 26, 2017

SAMANTHA ALFARO and GREGORY JOHN TORREZ, Plaintiffs,
v.
D. LAS VEGAS, INC.; EDGAR VINICIO VALLEJO; and DOES 1-20, inclusive, Defendants. D. LAS VEGAS, INC. and EDGAR VINICIO VALLEJO, Counter-Claimants,
v.
GREGORY JOHN TORREZ, Counter-Defendant.

          ORDER

          MIRANDA M. DU UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. SUMMARY

         Before the Court is Plaintiffs' Objection to Magistrate Judge's Order (“Objection”). (ECF No. 42.) The Objection is filed on behalf of both Plaintiffs Gregory John Torrez (“Torrez”) and Samantha Alfaro (“Alfaro”). (Id.) Defendants filed a response. (ECF No. 47.) Counter-Defendant Gregory John Torrez (“Counter-Defendant”) filed a response, which addresses the Objection as it relates to Alfaro.[1] (ECF No. 46.) The Court subsequently granted Defendants' motion to strike Alfaro's complaint and overruled her Objection as moot.[2] (ECF Nos. 48, 49.) This Order addresses the Objection as its relates to Torrez. For the reasons discussed herein, the Court affirms the Magistrate Judge's Order (“Order”).

         II. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         The Order presents the relevant factual background and the procedural history of this case, which the parties do not dispute. Accordingly, the Court relies on the same in addressing the Objection. For purposes of brevity, the Court will summarize only the facts relevant to the Objection.

         In Plaintiffs' initial disclosure under Rule 26(a) on December 24, 2015, they identified eight healthcare providers who treat Torrez.[3] (ECF No. 26-1 at 6-9.) Plaintiffs' supplemental disclosures served on February 8, 2016, identified the same providers and stated that these providers are expected to testify as to their evaluation and treatment of Torrez and to offer expert testimony that “the treatment rendered to Plaintiff and/or future treatment recommended . . . was and is reasonably medically necessary; [that the reasonable medical necessity of such treatment was caused by the incident(s) described in Plaintiff's Complaint; and [] that the costs for such past and future treatment . . . are reasonable and customary.” (ECF No. 26-4 at 18.) The supplemental disclosures further state that these providers are “expected to testify as treating physicians and as experts regarding the injuries sustained; past, present and future medical treatment and impairment; prognosis; disability; pain and suffering; disfigurement; causation; and the reasonableness and necessity of all care and billing as it relates to Plaintiff, as well as the authenticity of their medical records and the cost of their services rendered.” (Id. at 18-19.) They also state that these providers “will opine regarding future treatment[, ] pain management procedures [and] all of the treatment in this case . . .” (Id. at 19.)

         The Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiffs failed to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(B) and (C). (ECF No. 38.) In particular, the Magistrate Judge found that treating physicians providing opinions on causation, diagnosis, prognosis, and the extent of disability are required to provide Rule 26(a)(2)(B) report if their opinions were based on information provided outside the course of treatment. (Id. at 11-24.) She concluded that Plaintiffs failed to comply with Rule 26(a)(2)(B) to the extent any of the treating physicians Torrez identified were expected to testify about information not acquired or relied upon during Torrez's treatment. (Id.) The Magistrate Judge found that Torrez failed to comply with Rule 26(a)(2)(C) because the relevant disclosures do not contain a “summary of the facts and opinions to which the witness is expected to testify.” (Id. at 21-22, citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(C)(ii).) The Magistrate Judge explained the reasons for this finding in part as follows:

The initial disclosure and supplemental disclosures do not even identify the conditions for which Plaintiffs were treated, their diagnosis or prognosis, or the course of treatment provided. No information at all is provided linking any injury claimed by either Plaintiff to the accident in this case. The identical descriptions of expected testimony that Plaintiffs provided for all 11 treating physicians and providers are so generic, unhelpful, and boilerplate they could apply to any virtually any case.

(Id. at 22.) Based on these findings and additional findings that Plaintiffs' violation was willful, the Magistrate Judge imposed preclusion sanctions. (Id. at 24-28.)

         Torrez challenges the Magistrate Judge's finding that his disclosures failed to comply with Rule 26(a)(2)(C) and moreover, claims that his disclosures did include the required “summary of opinions.” (ECF No. 42.) He argues preclusion sanctions is not proper because he complied with Rule 26(a)(2)(C). (Id.)

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Magistrate judges are authorized to resolve pretrial matters subject to district court review under a “clearly erroneous or contrary to law” standard. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a); LR IB 3-1(a) (“A district judge may reconsider any pretrial matter referred to a magistrate judge in a civil or criminal case pursuant to LR IB 1-3, where it has been shown that the magistrate judge's ruling is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.”). A magistrate judge's order is “clearly erroneous” if the court has “a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” See United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948); Burdick v. Comm'r IRS, 979 F.2d 1369, 1370 (9th Cir. 1992). “An order is contrary to law when it fails to apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law, or rules of procedure.” Jadwin v. Cty. of Kern, 767 F.Supp.2d 1069, 1110-11 (E.D. Cal. 2011) (quoting DeFazio v. Wallis, 459 F.Supp.2d 159, 163 (E.D.N.Y. 2006)). When reviewing the order, however, the magistrate judge “is afforded broad discretion, which will be overruled only if abused.” Columbia Pictures, Inc. v. Bunnell, 245 F.R.D. 443, 446 (C.D. Cal. 2007). The district judge “may not simply substitute its judgment” for that of the magistrate judge. Grimes v. City and County of San Francisco, 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991) (citing United States v. BNS, Inc., 858 F.2d 456, 464 (9th Cir. 1988)).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         A. ...


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