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Randall v. Cantwell Machinery Co.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Tenth District

June 27, 2013

Michael A. Randall, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Cantwell Machinery Co. et al., Defendants-Appellees.

APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (C.P.C. No. 11CVD-9996)

Mark A. Adams, LLC, and Mark A. Adams, for appellant.

Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and LaTawnda N. Moore, for appellee Administrator, Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

DECISION

DORRIAN, J.

{¶ 1} Plaintiff-appellant, Michael A. Randall ("appellant"), appeals from a decision of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas denying his motion to quash and/or for a protective order and granting a motion filed by defendant-appellee Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation ("appellee") to compel appellant to sign an unaltered medical release. Because we conclude that the trial court erred by not granting appellant's proposed protective order or implementing other measures to protect records potentially subject to the physician-patient privilege, we affirm in part and reverse in part.

{¶ 2} Appellant suffered an industrial accident and sustained injuries to his neck and shoulder while employed by defendant-appellee Cantwell Machinery Co. ("Cantwell") in 2009. Appellant filed a workers' compensation claim, which was allowed for the condition of left shoulder sprain. The claim was subsequently allowed for additional conditions of left infraspinatus tear, left rotator cuff tear, left supraspinatus tear, left biceps tendinitis, and neck sprain. In 2011, appellant requested that additional allowances be granted for degenerative disc disease at C5-6 and C6-7, disc herniation at C5-6 and C6-7, foraminal stenosis at C5-6 and C6-7, spinal canal stenosis at C5-6, and spinal stenosis at C6-7. A district hearing officer for the Industrial Commission of Ohio ("commission") initially disallowed these additional allowances, but a staff hearing officer reversed that decision and granted all additional allowances except foraminal stenosis at C5-6 and C6-7. The commission refused appellant's appeal from the staff hearing officer's decision. Appellant then appealed to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, naming Cantwell and appellee as defendants.[1]

{¶ 3} After filing an answer to appellant's complaint, appellee served subpoenas on ten medical providers, requesting complete certified medical records for appellant. Appellant filed a motion to quash the subpoenas and for a protective order. Appellant also sought sanctions against appellee, arguing that appellee misrepresented the scope of the authorization for release of medical records that appellant agreed to by submitting a first report of injury form to file his claim. Appellee subsequently withdrew the subpoenas. Appellee later filed a motion to compel appellant to sign an unaltered copy of a medical release authorizing the release of any and all medical reports, records, files, and information pertaining to appellant. After conducting a status conference with the parties, the trial court issued orders addressing various pending discovery motions. The trial court denied appellant's motion to quash and/or for a protective order and request for sanctions. The trial court granted appellee's motion to compel appellant to provide an unaltered medical release.

{¶ 4} Appellant appeals from the trial court's decision, assigning three errors for this court's review:

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 1

In this workers' compensation case, the trial court erred by ordering plaintiff-appellant to produce an unlimited, unrestricted global release of all medical records relating to plaintiff-appellant, including statutorily privileged irrelevant medical records, even though the only body part at issue in the case involves plaintiff-appellant's neck.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 2

In this workers' compensation case, the trial court erred by denying plaintiff-appellant's motion for a protective order that would allow defendant-appellee to obtain all medical records but which placed reasonable restrictions on the use and disclosure of those records on defendant-appellee.

ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR NO. 3

In this workers' compensation case, the trial court erred in denying plaintiff-appellant's motion for sanctions where defendant-appellee's counsel subpoenaed all of plaintiff-appellant's medical records and misrepresented the scope of the an [sic] initial authorization signed by plaintiff-appellant as defendant ...

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