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Karimian-Dominique v. Good Samaritan Hospital

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

July 5, 2019

GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL, et al. Defendants-Appellees

          Civil Appeal from Common Pleas Court Trial Court Case No. 2016-CV-3623

          DWIGHT D. BRANNON, Atty. Reg. No. 0021657, MATTHEW C. SCHULTZ, Atty. Reg. No. 0080142, and ROBERT W. GURRY, Atty. Reg. No. 0079481, And MICHAEL L. WRIGHT, Atty. Reg. No. 0067698 Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant

          JOHN F. HAVILAND, Atty. Reg. No. 0029599 and ELIZABETH WILFONG, Atty. Reg. No. 0088172, 6 N. Main Street, Suite 400, Dayton, Ohio 45402 Attorneys for Defendant-Appellee, Good Samaritan Hospital

          SUSAN BLASIK-MILLER, Atty. Reg. No. 0005248 and KEVIN C. QUINLAN, Atty. Reg. No. 0092999, Attorneys for Defendant-Appellee, Latit Goyal, M.D.

          THEODORE M. MUNSELL, Atty. Reg. No. 0022055 and KAREN M. CADIEUX, Atty. Reg. No. 0079240, Attorneys for Defendants-Appellees, Premier Heart Associates, Abdul Wase, M.D., and Ahmad Abdul-Karim, M.D.


          FROELICH, J.

         {¶ 1} Rhonda Karimian-Dominique appeals from an order of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, which granted the motion of Dr. Latit Goyal to compel her to execute medical authorizations and denied her motions for a protective order and for an in camera review of her deceased husband's psychotherapy notes. For the following reasons, the trial court's order will be affirmed.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         {¶ 2} According to the amended complaint, on February 21, 2015, Michael Dominique presented to the emergency room of Good Samaritan Hospital complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. Although pulmonary embolism was a differential diagnosis, Dominique was not evaluated for that condition. Dominique underwent a cardiac catheterization on February 23. On February 24, 2015, Dominique suffered a massive pulmonary embolism and died.

         {¶ 3} On July 18, 2016, Karimian-Dominique, as Dominique's surviving spouse and as administrator of Dominique's estate, filed this action, asserting seven claims: (1) medical negligence, (2) wrongful death, (3) survivorship, (4) loss of consortium, (5) negligent/intentional infliction of emotional distress, (6) declaratory relief as to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, and (7) disgorgement/unjust enrichment. The amended complaint named Good Samaritan Hospital, Dr. Abdul Wase, Dr. Ahmad Abdul-Karim, Premier Heart Associates, Dr. Latit Goyal, Emergency Professional Services, [1] Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and other John/Jane Does as defendants (collectively "Defendants").

         {¶ 4} Upon Defendants' motion, the trial court granted summary judgment to Defendants on Karimian-Dominique's claims for infliction of emotional distress, declaratory relief, and disgorgement/unjust enrichment (Counts Five, Six, and Seven), and it limited her loss of consortium claim to the period between February 21 and February 24, 2017.

         {¶ 5} On October 23, 2018, Dr. Goyal moved to compel Karimian-Dominique to execute and deliver authorizations to disclose health information regarding Dominique, which her counsel had previously provided but later rescinded. Dr. Goyal's motion stated that the basis for the rescission of all authorizations for the release of medical information was not a claim of privilege, but due to issues that arose at a recent trial in another case involving Karimian-Dominique's counsel where the law firm now representing Dr. Goyal was defense counsel. Dr. Goyal attached to his motion correspondence from Karimian-Dominque's counsel to his defense counsel in this case, in which Karimian-Dominique's counsel alleged that the law firm had "trashed" the plaintiff in the prior case "as a sporting event." (Ex. E.) Dr. Goyal's motion sought to compel Karimian-Dominique to provide authorizations for records from the office of Antoinette Cordell & Associates and from Dr. Craig Olson, Psy.D. The records allegedly involved Dominique's treatment for individual and marital counseling. Dr. Goyal argued that disclosure of those records was required by Civ.R. 26, Civ.R. 37, and R.C. 2317.02(B).

         {¶ 6} Karimian-Dominique opposed Dr. Goyal's motion and filed a motion for a protective order, seeking to prevent discovery of Dominique's psychotherapy records. Karimian-Dominique claimed that the psychotherapy notes of Dr. Olson (and Dr. Brian Wood, Dominique's prior psychologist) were subject to doctor-patient privilege, and that the privilege had not been waived by the filing of the lawsuit, because Dominique was deceased and his emotional condition was not a genuine issue in the case. Karimian-Dominique separately moved for an in-camera review of Dominique's psychotherapy notes "to determine the relevance of the materials and the applicability of the doctor-patient privilege, and whether that privilege is subject to waiver."

         {¶ 7} Good Samaritan Hospital filed a memorandum in support of Dr. Goyal's motion and in opposition ...

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