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Uhler v. Van Cleave

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

February 10, 2017

ERIC and LYSA UHLER, husband and wife and the marital community composed thereof, Plaintiffs,
v.
TROOPER CHASE VAN CLEAVE, TROOPER BRENT MERTENS, and TROOPER ANDREW RAMOS, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Protective Order Limiting Discovery of Plaintiffs’ Medical Records. Dkt. #19. Plaintiffs argue that the medical records sought by Defendants are not relevant, and that the requests for records sought by Defendants are overbroad and not proportional to the needs of the case. Id. Defendants respond that the records sought are relevant to Plaintiffs’ claims and to their defenses. Dkt. #21. For the reasons set forth below, the Court disagrees with Defendants and GRANTS Plaintiffs’ motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         In this case, Plaintiffs allege as follows:

5.1 Around 7:00p.m. on March 11, 2016, a man named Mutasim Hamid, who was driving a truck towing a flatbed car trailer, collided with Lysa Uhler’s car on northbound I-405 south of SR 167.
5.2 The minor collision caused no injuries and the only notable damage was to Mrs. Uhler’s side mirror.
5.3 Mr. Hamid and Mrs. Uhler pulled their cars to the side of the road. They used their phones to take pictures of the vehicles, and Mr. Hamid took pictures of Mrs. Uhler’s driver’s license and insurance card.
5.4 Mrs. Uhler took a picture of Mr. Hamid’s driver’s license, but he would not give her insurance information. Unsure of what to do, Mrs. Uhler called her husband (Eric), who was also driving home after they had eaten dinner together.
5.5 Mr. Uhler came to the scene and asked that Mr. Hamid provide insurance information. When Mr. Hamid refused, the Uhlers decided to go home. The Uhlers saw no reason to wait any longer on the side of a busy freeway in the dark and rain, as Mrs. Uhler could drive her car safely, and there were no injuries.
5.6 After the Uhlers left, Mr. Hamid called the police. He appeared to have difficulty speaking and understanding English, but eventually he alleged to the 911 dispatcher that he had been in a collision and that a man had come to the scene, “choked” him, and “took everything” he had in his car.
5.7 Washington State Troopers Chase Van Cleave, Brent Mertens, and Andrew Ramos responded to the scene of the collision.
5.8 Mr. Hamid repeated his allegations, but this time he said that the man who came to the scene had grabbed his shirt collar and stolen his keys. Trooper Ramos later noted in his report that Mr. Hamid “did not have the best English.” 5.9 Mr. Hamid did not have any visible injuries or damage to his truck.
5.10 Trooper Mertens and Trooper Van Cleave used the pictures on Mr. Hamid’s phone of the Uhlers’ vehicles to look up their Department of Licensing photographs. Mr. Hamid identified Mrs. Uhler as the driver of the other vehicle, but he told Trooper Van Cleave that Eric Uhler did not look like the man who had come to the scene.
5.11 Troopers Mertens, Ramos, and Van Cleave decided to go to the Uhlers’ home that night to follow up on Mr. Hamid's allegations.
5.12 The Troopers had the Uhlers’ phone number, but they chose not to call them first.
5.13 The Uhlers live on Shady Lake in unincorporated King County, east of Renton.
5.14 The Uhlers’ property is connected to the street by a large circular driveway to the west of their house. A garage sits next to the house on the west side of the property.
5.15 A “Private Property: No Trespassing” sign is posted on the garage and is visible from the driveway as one approaches either the garage or the house.
5.16 A paved pathway and stairs leads from the driveway to the main entrance on the north side of the Uhlers’ house. A porch light illuminates the entrance and the entrance has a doorbell.
5.17 On the south side of the home, a breezeway connects the garage to the house. A wood deck and paved pathway and stairs lead to another entrance on the south side of the house. This entrance also has a porch light and a doorbell.
5.18 The east side of the home faces Shady Lake. There is a large backyard that runs down to the lake and is bordered by a hedge to the north and a fence to the south. There is also a covered patio that is connected to the Uhlers’ home. A door ...

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