United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. Poplin United States Magistrate Judge
case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636, the Rules of this Court, and Standing Order 13-02.
before the Court is a Motion to Modify the Scheduling Order
[Doc. 57], filed by Defendant Metro Knoxville HMA, LLC d/b/a
Tennova Healthcare-Physicians Regional Medical Center
(“Tennova”). The parties have briefed the Motion,
and it is ripe for adjudication. Accordingly, for the reasons
further explained below, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND
DENIES IN PART Tennova’s Motion [Doc.
of background, the parties attended a Scheduling Conference
with United States Magistrate Judge Lee on May 30, 2019.
Relevant to the instant Motion, during the Scheduling
Conference, the Court inquired about the parties’
ability and/or attempts to resolve this case. [Doc. 59 at
13]. The Court recommended a facilitated discussion and
inquired as to whether the parties would like the Court to
order mediation by a certain deadline. [Id. at 16].
The Court noted, however, that if early mediation did not
make sense to let the Court know. [Id.]. Counsel for
Tennova replied that early mediation “makes
sense” but noted that the parties had engaged in
settlement discussions and that they had a “vastly
different view about the underlying facts in this
case.” [Id.]. The Court suggested that the
parties have some time for discovery, and counsel for Tennova
stated that he was not against mediation. [Id. at
17]. Later, the following exchanged occurred:
[Tennova’s Counsel]: Well, I just think that if there
is going to be a mediation, I would rather do the mediation
early so as not to waste resources on litigation that would
otherwise be used. At the same time, there needs to be some
information sharing to make sure that – Court:
[Tennova’s Counsel] – each party appreciates the
relative strengths and weaknesses of their position.
[Tennova’s Counsel]: That’s why I bring up the
material difference in our views of the facts of the case.
[Id. at 17-18]. Later, during the hearing, the Court
inquired as to how long the parties needed for discovery
prior to setting the mediation. [Id. at 33]. Counsel
for Tennova stated “sooner than later” and that
sixty (60) days “should be enough to determine.”
[Id.]. Thus, the Court entered a Scheduling Order
directing the parties to mediate this case on or before
August 30, 2019.
now moves to remove or modify this deadline.
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
states [Doc. 57] that after conducting discovery, it believes
that Plaintiff’s claim is without merit and borders
frivolous. Tennova states that due to the frivolous nature of
the claim, it intends to file a motion for summary judgment.
Further, Tennova states that Plaintiff has made no effort to
minimize fees and expenses in this case. For instance,
Tennova states that depositions were taken in Knoxville on
August 5, 2019, and Tennova tried to schedule a mediation the
following day, on August 6, to eliminate delay and travel
costs, but Plaintiff refused to consider this request.
Tennova states that the parties have engaged in informal
settlement discussions and that settlement is exceptionally
unlikely. Tennova requests that the Court remove the
requirement for mediation or extend the deadline “far
into the future.” [Id. at 2].
Community Health Systems, Inc., (“CHSI”) and
Knoxville HMA Holdings, LLC (“Knoxville HMA
Holdings”) filed a Response [Doc. 58], stating that
neither entity played a role in the care, treatment, and
services allegedly provided by Tennova to Plaintiff.
Defendant CHSI states that it has played a cursory role in
the informal settlement negotiations and that Knoxville HMA
Holdings has not been included in any settlement ...