From Casetext: Smarter Legal Research

McAlwee v. Westchester Health Assocs., PLLC

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.
Jul 5, 2018
163 A.D.3d 547 (N.Y. App. Div. 2018)

Opinion

2016–11661 Index No. 52047/15

07-05-2018

Mary V. MCALWEE, appellant, v. WESTCHESTER HEALTH ASSOCIATES, PLLC, et al., respondents.

Richard S. Scanlan, White Plains, N.Y., for appellant. Vigorito, Barker, Porter & Patterson, LLP, Valhalla, N.Y. (Adonaid C. Medina of counsel), for respondent Westchester Health Associates, PLLC. Benvenuto & Slattery, Roslyn, N.Y. (James W. Tuffin of counsel), for respondent William B. Dieck.


Richard S. Scanlan, White Plains, N.Y., for appellant.

Vigorito, Barker, Porter & Patterson, LLP, Valhalla, N.Y. (Adonaid C. Medina of counsel), for respondent Westchester Health Associates, PLLC.

Benvenuto & Slattery, Roslyn, N.Y. (James W. Tuffin of counsel), for respondent William B. Dieck.

MARK C. DILLON, J.P., HECTOR D. LASALLE, BETSY BARROS, LINDA CHRISTOPHER, JJ.

DECISION & ORDER

In an action, inter alia, to recover damages for medical malpractice, the plaintiff appeals from an order of the Supreme Court, Westchester County (Joan B. Lefkowitz, J.), dated September 20, 2016. The order, insofar as appealed from, denied that branch of the plaintiff's motion which was to compel the defendant Westchester Health Associates, PLLC, to produce its contract of employment with the defendant William B. Dieck.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs.

This is an action sounding primarily in medical malpractice and lack of informed consent. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant Anne S. Negrin, a board-certified ophthalmologist, formerly employed by the defendant Westchester Health Associates, PLLC (hereinafter Health Associates), negligently performed two eye surgeries on the plaintiff's right eye, causing her to sustain significant vision loss. In addition, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant William B. Dieck, a more senior ophthalmologist who was a member of Health Associates and shared an office with Negrin, negligently supervised Negrin and departed from good and accepted medical practice by failing to assist her with the plaintiff's eye surgeries.

After some discovery had been conducted, the plaintiff moved, inter alia, to compel Health Associates to produce Dieck's employment contract with Health Associates. Both Health Associates and Dieck opposed that branch of the plaintiff's motion, arguing that the employment contract was not relevant because Dieck never treated the plaintiff and, since Negrin was a board-certified ophthalmologist, he did not have a legal duty to supervise her. They also asserted that the record was devoid of evidence indicating that Dieck acted as Negrin's supervisor. The Supreme Court denied that branch of the plaintiff's motion which sought Dieck's contract of employment with Health Associates. The plaintiff appeals.

"There shall be full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or defense of an action, regardless of the burden of proof, by ... a party" ( CPLR 3101[a][1] ). "The words, ‘material and necessary,’ are ... to be interpreted liberally to require disclosure, upon request, of any facts bearing on the controversy which will assist preparation for trial" ( Allen v. Crowell–Collier Publ. Co., 21 N.Y.2d 403, 406, 288 N.Y.S.2d 449, 235 N.E.2d 430 ; see Montalvo v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 81 A.D.3d 611, 612, 915 N.Y.S.2d 865 ; LaPierre v. Jewish Bd. of Family & Children Servs., Inc., 47 A.D.3d 896, 896, 850 N.Y.S.2d 595 ). "However, the principle of ‘full disclosure’ does not give a party the right to uncontrolled and unfettered disclosure, and the trial courts have ‘broad power to regulate discovery to prevent abuse’ " ( Gilman & Ciocia, Inc. v. Walsh, 45 A.D.3d 531, 531, 845 N.Y.S.2d 124, quoting Barouh Eaton Allen Corp. v. International Bus. Machs. Corp., 76 A.D.2d 873, 874, 429 N.Y.S.2d 33 ; see Stepping Stones Assocs., L.P. v. Scialdone, 148 A.D.3d 855, 855, 50 N.Y.S.3d 76 ; Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, Inc. v. Sharf, 59 A.D.3d 408, 410, 873 N.Y.S.2d 145 ). " ‘The supervision of disclosure and the setting of reasonable terms and conditions therefor rests within the sound discretion of the trial court and, absent an improvident exercise of that discretion, its determination will not be disturbed’ " ( Berkowitz v. 29 Woodmere Blvd. Owners', Inc., 135 A.D.3d 798, 799, 23 N.Y.S.3d 352, quoting Mattocks v. White Motor Corp., 258 A.D.2d 628, 629, 685 N.Y.S.2d 764 ; see Gilman & Ciocia, Inc. v. Walsh, 45 A.D.3d at 531, 845 N.Y.S.2d 124 ).

Here, the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in denying that branch of the plaintiff's motion which was to compel the production of Dieck's employment contract with Health Associates. The evidence presented by the plaintiff in support of her motion established that Dieck did not participate in the plaintiff's treatment and that Negrin was not subject to any supervision in her treatment of patients at Health Associates. Accordingly, to the extent the plaintiff argues that the employment contract is necessary to her cause of action against Dieck because it sets forth his duty to supervise Negrin, that contention is pure speculation (see Vyas v. Campbell, 4 A.D.3d 417, 418, 771 N.Y.S.2d 375 ). The plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the request for Dieck's employment contract was material and necessary to a viable claim (see generally State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. RLC Med., P.C., 150 A.D.3d 1034, 1035, 55 N.Y.S.3d 313 ; Quinones v. 9 E. 69th St., LLC, 132 A.D.3d 750, 751, 18 N.Y.S.3d 106 ; Mendelovitz v. Cohen, 49 A.D.3d 612, 612, 852 N.Y.S.2d 795 ; White Bay Enters. v. Newsday, Inc., 288 A.D.2d 211, 212, 732 N.Y.S.2d 865 ; Palma v. Iona College, 259 A.D.2d 532, 532, 686 N.Y.S.2d 459 ).

DILLON, J.P., LASALLE, BARROS and CHRISTOPHER, JJ., concur.


Summaries of

McAlwee v. Westchester Health Assocs., PLLC

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.
Jul 5, 2018
163 A.D.3d 547 (N.Y. App. Div. 2018)
Case details for

McAlwee v. Westchester Health Assocs., PLLC

Case Details

Full title:Mary V. MCALWEE, appellant, v. WESTCHESTER HEALTH ASSOCIATES, PLLC, et…

Court:Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

Date published: Jul 5, 2018

Citations

163 A.D.3d 547 (N.Y. App. Div. 2018)
163 A.D.3d 547

Citing Cases

Slapo v. Winthrop Univ. Hosp.

While the appeal was pending, Slapo died, and Jacqueline Slapo, as executor of Slapo's estate, was…

M.C. v. City of New York

Pursuant to CPLR 3101(a), "[t]here shall be full disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the…