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State v. Franciscan Health System

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

May 10, 2018

STATE OF WASHINGTON, Plaintiff,
v.
FRANCISCAN HEALTH SYSTEM, d/b/a CHI FRANCISCAN HEALTH; FRANCISCAN MEDICAL GROUP; THE DOCTORS CLINIC, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION; and WESTSOUND ORTHOPAEDICS, P.S., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Franciscan Health System and Franciscan Medical Group's (“Franciscan”) motion to compel (Dkt. 84). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the motion for the reasons stated herein.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On August 31, 2017, the State filed a complaint against Defendants Franciscan, The Doctors Clinic (TDC”), and WestSound Orthopaedics, P.S. (“WestSound”), asserting a per se violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”), RCW Chapter 19.86; an unreasonable restraint of trade in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1 and the CPA; and violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 18, and the CPA. Dkt. 1 (“Compl.”). In general, the State asserts that Franciscan's purchase of TDC and WestSound has harmed competition for health care services on the Kitsap Peninsula.

         On December 29, 2017, Franciscan served Interested Party First Choice Health Network, Inc. (“First Choice”) with a document subpoena and deposition subpoena seeking documents and testimony on a range of topics related to the State's complaint. Dkt. 85-2. On January 26, 2018, First Choice responded with ten general objections and twelve specific objections. Dkt. 85-3. For the next two months, the parties negotiated solutions to the requests and objections.

         On March 22, 2018, Franciscan filed the instant motion to compel stating that the parties have reached agreement on some issues and need direction from the Court on other issues. Dkt. 84. On April 2, 2018, First Choice responded. Dkt. 90. On April 5, 2018, Interested Parties Aetna, Inc., Cambia Health Solutions, Inc, Regence Blueshield of Washington, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, and United Healthcare Services, LLC filed briefs requesting that the Court defer ruling on some of the requests until all impacted parties have an opportunity to resolve outstanding objections. Dkts. 94-96. On April 6, 2018, Franciscan replied. Dkt. 103.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Meet and Confer

         Any motion for an order compelling disclosure or discovery must include a certification, in the motion or in a declaration or affidavit, that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with the person or party failing to make disclosure or discovery in an effort to resolve the dispute without court action. Local Rule 37(a)(1).

         In this case, First Choice argues that the Court should strike Franciscan's motion because Franciscan failed to meet and confer before filing the motion. Dkt. 90 at 7. The parties have been negotiating the responses and objections for months. The Court concludes that such negotiations satisfy the meet and confer requirement even in the absence of a specific meet and confer regarding the limited contents of the motion to compel. Therefore, the Court will address the merits of the motion.

         B. Merits

         The parties agree that the remaining disputes are requests for production six and eight. Dkt. 90 at 9; Dkt. 103-1. These requests are as follows:

6. All contracts and agreements, including the base contract or agreement and any addendums, amendments, and exhibits, between you and any Provider in the Relevant Area in force at any point between January 1, 2014 and ...

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