United States District Court, N.D. Ohio
CELESTE R. MECK, Individually and as the Executrix of the Estate of the Deceased John W. Meck, Plaintiff,
CLEVELAND CLINIC FOUNDATION, Defendant.
CHRISTOPHER BOYKO JUDGE
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Jonathan D. Greenberg U.S. Magistrate Judge.
matter has been referred to the undersigned to resolve the
discovery dispute set forth in Plaintiff Celeste R.
Meck's Motion to Compel (Doc. No. 25) and Defendant
Cleveland Clinic Foundation's Motion for a Protective
Order (Doc. No. 28). For the following reasons,
Plaintiff's Motion to Compel is DENIED and
Defendant's Motion for Protective Order is GRANTED (Doc.
Nos. 25, 28.)
October 14, 2015, Plaintiff Celeste R. Meck, individually and
as the Executrix of the Estate of the Deceased John W. Meck,
filed a Complaint in this Court against Defendant Cleveland
Clinic Foundation (“CCF”). (Doc. No. 1.) In the
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges the following.
about February 7, 2013, John W. Meck (the husband of
Plaintiff Celeste R. Meck) underwent surgery at CCF for
repair of a thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm. (Doc. No. 1 at
¶ 10.) This surgery is referred to as a Fenestrated
Endovascular Aortic Aneurysm Repair (“FEVAR”) and
was performed by Cleveland Clinic vascular surgeon Dr.
Matthew Eagleton. (Id.) During the surgery, CCF
personnel inserted a subarachnoid drain (“SA
drain”) into the lower part of Mr. Meck's back,
near the spinal cord, as a means of maintaining adequate
spinal cord pressure during and following the procedure.
(Id. at ¶ 24.) The SA drain was in place when
Mr. Meck was taken to the cardiovascular intensive care unit
after the surgery, and remained in place until it was removed
several days later. (Id. at ¶ 25.) The SA drain
was connected to apparatus to monitor spinal cord pressure
and “was not intended as a route for the delivery of
any medications.” (Id. at ¶ 26.)
Plaintiff claims “delivery of medication into the
subarachnoid drain could cause devastating neurologic
consequences including paralysis and others.”
(Id. at ¶ 28.)
asserts a CCF nurse gave Mr. Meck at least one medication
through a sampling portion of the SA drain at the time it was
still inserted into Mr. Meck's back. (Id. at
¶ 30.) Plaintiff claims the nurse did not have a valid
order to do so and, further, that delivery of medication into
the SA drain was negligent. (Id. at ¶¶ 31,
hours after the surgery, Mr. Meck “suddenly lost all
feeling and movement at and below the level of his
umbilicus.” (Id. at ¶ 20.) According to
Plaintiff, the “wrongful delivery of the subject
medication (or medications) by the Defendant Cleveland Clinic
nurse supposedly was discovered by a Defendant Cleveland
Clinic physician some time later, after Decedent Mr. Meck
already was paralyzed.” (Id. at ¶ 33.)
Plaintiff asserts the wrongful delivery of medication through
the SA drain prevented treatment of any neurologic
consequences of the FEVAR procedure and was the direct and
proximate cause of Mr. Meck's injuries. (Id. at
¶¶ 34, 35.)
claims CCF failed to inform Mr. Meck or any of his family
members about the wrongful delivery of medication through the
SA drain. (Id. at ¶ 36.) She also asserts CCF
“failed to reasonably, properly and honestly document
occurrences during the critical portions of Decedent Mr.
Meck's admission to the cardiovascular intensive care
unit, as there are gaps in the charting, inconsistencies in
the charting, and other indicia of improper documentation
indicative of substandard care.” (Id. at
Meck became permanently paralyzed while a patient at CCF.
(Id. at ¶ 21.) Plaintiff claims her
husband's health deteriorated after the surgery, and he
died from complications relating to his paralysis on October
17, 2014. (Id. at ¶ 40.)
CCF filed an Answer on November 5, 2015 (Doc. No. 4) and the
parties proceeded to conduct discovery. On April 13, 2017,
Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel, seeking an Order
requiring Defendant to produce certain photographs and two
Safety Event Reporting System (“SERS”) reports
relating to the allegedly improper delivery of medication
through Mr. Meck's SA drain. (Doc. No. 25.) Defendant CCF
filed a Brief in Opposition and Motion for Protective Order
on April 27, 2017, to which Plaintiff replied on May 1, 2017.
(Doc. No. 28, 30.)
parties' discovery dispute was referred to the
undersigned on April 28, 2017. (Doc. No. 29.) On May 3, 2017,
this Court ordered Defendant to deliver two sets of
unredacted copies of the SERS reports at issue to Chambers
for in camera review. (Doc. No. 32.) Defendant timely
complied with the Court's Order and delivered the SERS
reports for in camera inspection on May 8, 2017.
(Doc. No. 34.) The undersigned has reviewed the two SERS
reports produced by CCF for in camera review, and
this matter is now ripe for adjudication.
March 2016, Plaintiff propounded document requests to
Defendant CCF seeking (among other things) the following: (1)
complete copies of any incident reports filed with reference
to Mr. Meck; and (2) a listing of every meeting or review
during which the care rendered to Mr. Meck was discussed.
(Doc. No. 25-1 at Requests for Production Nos. 3, 4.)
Defendant CCF objected to the requests, as follows:
3. Produce complete copies of any incident reports filed with
reference to Mr. Meck. If you claim a privilege, please see
OBJECTION: The information sought by this Request is
privileged and protected by the attorney client and work
product privileges and by the Peer Review and Quality
Assurance privileges granted by O.R.C. 2305.25, 2305.252,
2305.24 and 2305.253. Responsive documents were produced in
Response to Request No. 7. Only documents withheld pursuant
to this Objection is a Safety Event Reporting System (SERS)
report dated 2/8/13 and 3/12/13, and the Clinic Ombudsman
records dated 2/8/13 through 2/21/13.
4. Produce a listing of every meeting or review during which
the care rendered to Mr. Meck was discussed (Please note that
the fact that a meeting took place is not ...