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Sharon Murray v. Nationwide Better Health

August 31, 2011

SHARON MURRAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NATIONWIDE BETTER HEALTH, BARBARA LEY, AND CYNTHIA NORTHRUP, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Byron G. Cudmore, U.S. Magistrate Judge:

E-FILED

Wednesday, 31 August, 2011 02:31:56 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Sharon Murray's Motion for Relief and Appropriate Action (d/e 137) (Motion 137); Murray's Motion to Take Deposition of Nancy Wells (VanScyoc) and Gaye Ann Pusch in Open Court for the Earliest Date Available For This Court, and Local Rule 6.1, Motion for Extension of Time to Amend Complaint and Joinder of Additional Parties to be Due No Less Than 21 Days After the Depositions (d/e 138) (Motion 138); Non-Party Witnesses' Motion for Protective Order (d/e 143) (Motion 143); and Defendants' Motion to Limit Plaintiff's Discovery Consistent with the Court's July 11, 2011, Opinion (d/e 145) (Motion 145).

For the reasons set forth below, Motion 137 is DENIED and Motions 138, 143, and 145 are ALLOWED in part and DENIED in part.

BACKGROUND

The District Court limited discovery in this case until after the pending Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 108) is resolved. Opinion entered July 11, 2011 (d/e 134) (July 11 Opinion). The District Court stated:

Discovery will be limited to the issues raised in the Motion for Summary Judgment regarding Plaintiff's federal claims, specifically: (1) whether Nationwide Better Health is a "covered employer" under the FMLA; and (2) whether Nationwide Better Health, Northrup, or Ley are "fiduciaries" of a "plan" under ERISA. Plaintiff is also permitted to conduct discovery regarding any agreements, policies, or contracts entered into between Nationwide Better Health and Plaintiff's former employer during the relevant time and relating to the two issues cited above.

In addition, this Court notes that Defendants supported their Motion for Summary Judgment with affidavits from Northrup and from Deborah Baugh, an employee of AT&T located in the State of Washington. Plaintiff is permitted to obtain discovery from Northrup and Baugh regarding the information provided in their Affidavits. Plaintiff must note, however, that Baugh is not a party to the litigation and is not an employee of Nationwide Better Health.

Discovery on the issues raised in Plaintiff's Complaint, including, but not limited to the following, is stayed pending a ruling on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment: whether

(1) Plaintiff exhausted her FMLA leave; (2) Northrup committed perjury; and (3) spoliation and intentional destruction of documents occurred. If the Motion for Summary Judgment is denied, this Court will allow additional discovery upon motion of either party and may reset the scheduling deadlines herein for good cause.

Id. at 8-10.

Prior to entry of the July 11 Opinion, this Court authorized the depositions of non-party witnesses Nancy Wells n/k/a Nancy Vanscyc, and Gaye Ann Pusch. Opinion entered June 9, 2011 (d/e 94) (June 9 Opinion), at 5. Murray still seeks to conduct these depositions before the resolution of the Motion for Summary Judgment. Murray also seeks to conduct depositions of Defendants Barbara Ley and Cynthia Northrup; Defendant Nationwide Health (Nationwide) employees Corrine Archer and Chrissy Cauger; and non-party witnesses Deborah Baugh and Christopher Myers. All of the deponents ask for protective orders to limit or bar the depositions. The non-party witnesses Vanscyc, Pusch, Myers, and Baugh are also represented by counsel, Attorney Michael A. Warner, Jr. Vanscyc, Pusch, Myers, and Baugh ask that Murray communicate with them through their counsel ...


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