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Angheloiu v. Peacehealth

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

May 31, 2018




         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant PeaceHealth's (“PeaceHealth”) motion to dismiss and compel arbitration (Dkt. 23) and Plaintiff Viorel Angheloiu's (“Angheloiu”) amended motion for sanctions (Dkt. 28), motion to compel discovery (Dkt. 30), and motion to continue PeaceHealth's motion (Dkt. 31). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby rules as follows:


         On October 30, 2017, Angheloiu filed a complaint against PeaceHealth asserting causes of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy and a violation of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (“PSQIA”). Dkt. 1. On February 8, 2018, Angheloiu filed an amended complaint adding a claim for declaratory relief that his two other claims are not subject to arbitration. Dkt. 22.

         On February 21, 2018, PeaceHealth filed a motion to dismiss and compel arbitration. Dkt. 23. On March 23, 2018, Angheloiu filed a provisional response and motion to compel and a motion for sanctions and provisional response. Dkts. 23, 24. On March 29, 2018, Angheloiu filed an amended provisional response and amended motion for sanctions. Dkt. 28, 29. On April 2, 2018, Angheloiu filed a motion to stay PeaceHealth's motion. Dkt. 29. On April 4, 2018, Angheloiu filed a motion to compel and a motion to continue noting date for PeaceHealth's motion. Dkts. 30, 31. On April 5, 2018, the Court issued an order directing Angheloiu to stop filing redundant motions seeking the same relief and renoted all pending motions for consideration on the Court's April 20, 2018 calendar. Dkt. 32.[1] On April 17, 2018, PeaceHealth responded to Angheloiu's motions. Dkt. 36. On April 20, 2018, Angheloiu replied. Dkt. 38.


         At the commencement of his employment, Angheloiu and PeaceHealth executed a Physician Employment Agreement (“Employment Agreement”). Dkt. 24 at 4-25. The agreement contains a dispute resolution section, which provides a procedure to follow when disputes arose relating to the Agreement. Id. § 8. The parties agreed to first meet and confer to resolve the dispute. Id. § 8.1. If the dispute was not resolved, the parties agreed to engage in mediation. Id. If the parties could not resolve the dispute in mediation, then the parties agreed to arbitration. Id. § 8.2.

         The parties also entered into a Recruitment Agreement. Dkt. 24 at 37-41. The agreement incorporates the Employment Agreement. Id. at 37. The Recruitment Agreement also contains a choice of law provision that provides that the state and federal courts of Washington shall have jurisdiction over the agreement. Id. § IV.D.

         The parties dispute whether Angheloiu has sufficient time and/or ability to read and understand the provisions of these agreements. PeaceHealth contends that it sent the agreements to Angheloiu almost a week before he signed and returned them. Dkt. 24 at 1, ¶ 2. Angheloiu contends that “[d]uring the time that PeaceHealth gave me to consider the [agreements], I did not have time to consult with counsel or carefully consider the documents. I was experiencing significant relationship problems and had to travel to Ohio.” Dkt. 25-2, ¶ 2.

         Regarding the discovery motions, on December 22, 2017, Angheloiu sent requests for production (“RFPs”) to PeaceHealth. Dkt. 30-2 at 4-33. Angheloiu sent 89 requests, some with multiple parts. Id. PeaceHealth responded, objecting to the majority of the requests and also producing some documents. Dkt. 36 at 4; Dkt. 28-2 at 143-199. On Friday March 2, 2018, Angheloiu sent PeaceHealth a notice of limited deposition requesting a 30(b)(6) deposition and listing 22 topics that he intended to explore. Dkt. 37 at 10-15. Angheloiu stated that the preferable time for the deposition was the following Monday March 5, 2018 starting at 9:00 AM. Id. at 10. PeaceHealth objected to the notice. After some discussions, the deposition occurred on March 21, 2018. Dkt. 28-2 at 1. In general, the parties dispute the scope of discovery at this point of the proceeding. Angheloiu seeks broad discovery while PeaceHealth contends that discovery should be limited to the issue presented in the motion to dismiss or compel arbitration.


         A. Discovery Motions

         As a threshold matter, PeaceHealth argues that the Court should deny Angheloiu's discovery motions because he failed to meet and confer. The Local Rules of Procedure require any motion to compel to include a certification that the movant has attempted in good faith to meet and confer with the opposing party to resolve the discovery issue without Court intervention. LCR 37(a)(1). “The certification must list the date, manner, and participants to the conference.” Id. “If the movant fails to include such a certification, the court may deny the motion without addressing the merits of the dispute.” Id.

         In this case, Angheloiu's motion to compel includes a certification that the parties “conferred in good faith regarding the substance of the motion . . . .” Dkt. 30 at 1. Angheloiu, however, fails to list the date, manner, and participants to the conference. Id. Instead, the motion and the accompanying declaration simply refer to numerous email exchanges regarding Angheloiu's RFP's and deposition request. Id.; Dkt. 30-1 (declaration of counsel). In response, PeaceHealth asserts that, at most, the parties have only conferred regarding RFPs ...

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