Pettit v. United States of America
OPINION AND ORDER: Court GRANTS Pettit's request for in camera review of the documents identified in Privilege Logs 1-3. Government to submit the documents to the court, along with the equivalent medical records, within 30 days. Pettit's appeal remains UNDER ADVISEMENT. Signed by Judge William C Lee on 12/29/2014. (tc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CIVIL NO. 2:13CV253
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the court on Appeal of Magistrate Judge’s Decision, filed by the
Plaintiff, Harold Pettit (“Pettit”), on September 4, 2014. The Defendant, United States of
America (“Government”), filed a response on September 26, 2014, to which Pettit replied on
October 2, 2014.
Pettit has brought a Federal Tort Claims Act claim against the Government arising from
Pettit’s fall at the Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center (JBVAMC) in Chicago in July
2012. Pettit requested documents relating to his fall, which the Government withheld on the
basis of a privilege created by 38 U.S.C. § 5705. The Government claims that the documents are
privileged because they are quality assurance documents. Pettit argues that the Government is
abusing the privilege to shield fact witnesses. Pettit states he needs the documents because the
witnesses the Government has identified have forgotten important facts and he believes the
contemporaneous witness statements may reveal both forgotten facts and additional undisclosed
Pettit requests an in camera review of the documents identified in Privilege Logs 1-3,
which consist of a “Patient Fall Report”, “Report of an Adverse Event”, and “Root Cause
The Government insists that Pettit has no need for the privileged documents because
equivalent information is in medical records produced to Pettit.
The court will grant Pettit’s request for an in camera review of the documents. The court
also requests the Government to submit to the court the medical records it claims provide the
equivalent information to Pettit.
The court hereby GRANTS Pettit’s request for in camera review of the documents
identified in Privilege Logs 1-3. The Government is ORDERED to submit the documents to the
court, along with the equivalent medical records, within 30 days. Pettit’s appeal remains
Entered: December 29, 2014.
s/ William C. Lee
William C. Lee, Judge
United States District Court
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