Warkins et al v. Aaron Piercy, Administrator of the Estate of Dale Piercy
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER:IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Petitioners' Motion to Quash Out of State Subpoenas 1 is DENIED.. Signed by District Judge John A. Ross on 7/12/16. (KKS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JULIE WARKINS, DAN WILLIAMS and
AARON PIERCY, ADMINISTRATOR OF
THE ESTATE OF DALE PIERCY,
No. 4:16-mc-00324 JAR
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This miscellaneous matter is before the Court on Petitioners’ Motion to Quash Out of
State Subpoenas. (Doc. No. 1) The motion is fully briefed and ready for disposition. For the
following reasons, the motion will be denied.
The subpoenas at issue relate to a § 1983 action pending in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Case No. 14-CV-7398, Piercy v. Wilhelmi, et al.
Plaintiff Aaron Piercy (Respondent herein), as administrator of the estate of his father Dale
Piercy, alleges his father died as a result of Defendants’ deliberate indifference to his medical
needs while detained at Whiteside County Jail in Morrison, Illinois, and then at Stateville
Northern Reception Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. Respondent filed this action against numerous
Defendants, including Advanced Correctional Healthcare (“ACH”), an Illinois corporation that
provides healthcare services to the Whiteside County Jail on behalf of the Whiteside County
Sheriff’s Department, and Julie Warkins and Dan Williams, both employed by ACH at the
Whiteside County Jail as, respectively, a licensed practical nurse and a physician’s assistant
(Petitioners herein). The operative complaint alleges, inter alia, that ACH had a de facto policy
and practice at the Whiteside County Jail of providing deliberately indifferent health care, as
evidenced by failing to adequately train, supervise, or control its medical staff, by permitting its
staff routinely to fail to properly respond to and treat serious medical conditions, and by failing
to adequately punish or discipline acts of health care misconduct. (Fourth Amended Complaint,
Doc. No. 250 at ¶¶ 49-55)
In furtherance of his Monell claim1 against ACH, Respondent has issued subpoenas to
110 facilities located in over ten states where ACH contracted to provide medical services
seeking the following records:
All marketing, advertising, or promotional materials, including but not limited to
pamphlets, brochures, and power point presentations, provided or sent to the
[County name] County Sheriff’s Office, [County name] County Jail, or any
employee of the [County name] County Sheriff’s Office by [ACH].
A copy of any contract between the County, Jail, or Sheriff, and ACH.
Documents sufficient to show the names and any offers, bids, or marketing
materials provided by competing medical care providers at or around the time the
County elected to contract with A.CH.
A copy of the minutes of any County Board Meeting at which any contract with
ACH was discussed.
(See Doc. Nos. 1-1, -2, -3, -4, -5) Five such subpoenas were served on county jails located within
the jurisdiction of this Court, namely, Cape Girardeau County, Crawford County, Phelps County,
Randolph County, and Washington County. None of the jails filed objections or motions to
Monell v. Dep’t of Social Services of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978).
quash the subpoenas and, in fact, Cape Girardeau County Jail has responded to the subpoena, and
copies of the documents it provided have been disclosed to Petitioners. (See Doc. No. 4 at 2, 8)
Petitioners move that the subpoenas either be quashed or referred to the Northern District
of Illinois for resolution by the issuing court pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(f).
(Doc. No. 1 at ¶ 2) Respondent opposes the motion to quash, asserting that Petitioners lack
standing under Rule 45 to challenge subpoenas directed at nonparties. (Doc. No. 4 at 4-6)
Moreover, even if Petitioners have standing, their motion lacks merit because the subpoenas seek
information relevant to Respondent’s claims and do not impose an undue burden. (Id. at 6-9)
Petitioners have filed similar motions to quash in the underlying § 1983 litigation in the
Northern District of Illinois, see Motion to Quash Subpoenas, Piercy v. Wilhelmi, Case No. 1:14CV-07398 (N.D. Ill. May 13, 2016) (ECF No. 267) and Motion for Protective Order, Piercy v.
Wilhelmi, Case No. 1:14-CV-07398 (N.D. Ill. May 19, 2016) (ECF No. 273); and in
miscellaneous actions in the Northern District of Alabama, see Motion to Quash Subpoena and
Motion to Transfer, Piercy v. Wilhelmi, No. 5:16-mc-0788-VEH (N.D. Ala. May 12, 2016) (ECF
No. 1); Central District of Illinois, see Motion to Quash Subpoenas, Piercy v. Wilhelmi, No. 16mc-1008 (C.D. Ill. May 12, 2016) (ECF No. 1) and Supplement to Motion to Quash Subpoenas,
Piercy v. Wilhelmi, No. 16-mc-1008 (C.D. Ill. May 26, 2016) (ECF No. 5); District of
Minnesota, see Motion to Quash Subpoenas, Piercy v. Wilhelmi, 16-mc-33-PJS-KMM (D. Minn.
May 12, 2016) (ECF No. 1); and Southern District of Indiana, see Motion to Quash Out of State
Subpoenas, Warkins v. Piercy, No. 1:16-mc-00034-SEB-DML (S.D. Ind. May 12, 2016) (ECF
Nos. 1) and Supplement to Motion to Quash Out of State Subpoenas, Warkins v. Piercy, No.
1:16-mc-00034-SEB-DML (S.D. Ind. May 26, 2016) (ECF No. 7). With the exception of the
Southern District of Indiana, the district courts found no exceptional circumstances warranting
transfer under Rule 45(f) and further that Petitioners lacked standing to challenge the subpoenas.
(See Doc. Nos. 4-2, -3, -4, -5) While none of these rulings are binding on this Court, the Court
finds them persuasive.
While motions to quash or modify a subpoena must be brought in the district where
compliance is required, see Rule 45(d)(3), under Rule 45(f), the court may transfer a motion to
quash to the issuing court if the person subject to the subpoena consents or if the court finds
exceptional circumstances. When considering transfer, the court’s prime concern “should be
avoiding burdens on local nonparties subject to subpoenas, and it should not be assumed that the
issuing court is in a superior position to resolve subpoena-related motions.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 45
(Advisory Committee Notes – 2013 Amendment). The Advisory Committee notes that transfer is
appropriate only if the interest in avoiding disruption to the issuing court’s management of the
underlying ligation outweighs the interests of the nonparty served with the subpoena in obtaining
local resolution of the motion. (Id.)
Petitioners contend that exceptional circumstances warrant transfer here, as their
objections to the subpoenas “relate to the proper scope of the litigation for this case.” (Doc. No. 1
at ¶ 10) However, as noted by Respondent, the issuing court to which Petitioners seek transfer
has already resolved this issue against them by denying their motion to quash. (See Doc. No. 45) Further, there is no indication of any burden placed on the local nonparty subjects of the
subpoenas; the fact that one of the jails has already responded to the subpoena suggests there is
no undue burden. Accordingly, the Court finds no exceptional circumstances warranting transfer.
Turning to the merits of the motion to quash, Petitioners challenge the subpoenas as
beyond the reasonable scope of discovery and disproportionate to the needs of the case. (Doc.
No. 1 at ¶¶ 13, 18-19) “In general, ‘[a] motion to quash or modify a subpoena . . . may only be
made by the party to whom the subpoena is directed except where the party seeking to challenge
the subpoena has a personal right or privilege2 with respect to the subject matter requested in the
subpoena.’” Boaz v. FE Express, LLC, No. 4:15-CV-1271 CAS, 2016 WL 2733121, at *1 (E.D.
Mo. May 11, 2016) (quoting Mayhall v. Berman & Rabin, P.A., 2013 WL 4496279, at *3 (E.D.
Mo. Aug. 21, 2013)); see also 9 James Wm. Moore, et al., Moore’s Federal Practice § 45.50
(3d ed. 2014) (“When a subpoena is directed to a nonparty, any motion to quash or modify the
subpoena generally must be brought by the nonparty. In particular, a party to the action does not
have standing to assert any rights of the nonparty as a basis for a motion to quash or modify a
subpoena.”); Shukh v. Seagate Tech., LLC, 295 F.R.D. 228, 235-36 (D. Minn. 2013) (citing
cases); Nat’l Ben. Programs, Inc. v. Express Scripts, Inc., No. 4:10CV00907 AGF, 2011 WL
6009655, at *3 (E.D. Mo. Dec. 1, 2011). Because Petitioners are not the subject of the
challenged subpoenas and have made no showing of a personal right or privilege relating to the
discovery being sought, the Court finds they lack standing to bring a motion to quash.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Petitioners’ Motion to Quash Out of State Subpoenas
 is DENIED.
Dated this 12th day of July, 2016.
JOHN A. ROSS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Respondent argues that any invocation of the personal privilege exception by Petitioners would fail
because the subpoenaed documents are all public records subject to disclosure under Missouri’s Sunshine
Law, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.010. (Doc. No. 4 at 4, 8) Regardless, Petitioners have not asserted any personal
right or privilege with respect to the documents requested in the subpoenas.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?