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Kelley v. Billings Clinic

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 3, 2013

MARK J. KELLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
BILLINGS CLINIC, Defendant.

ORDER

CAROLYN S. OSTBY, Magistrate Judge.

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry ("Department"), a non-party, moves to quash Defendant Billings Clinic's subpoena duces tecum seeking Plaintiff's unemployment compensation records. ECF 40. Having reviewed the record, the Court will deny the motion for the reasons and on the terms discussed below.

I. BACKGROUND

On February 12, 2013, Billings Clinic sent to the State of Montana Unemployment Insurance Division Plaintiff Mark Kelley's ("Kelley") Authorization for Release of Unemployment Benefits Records and Reports. ECF 40 at 15.

On March 25, 2013, the Department responded by providing "a complete copy of all UI records available to Mr. Kelley relating to the UI determination regarding his application for unemployment compensation benefits...." ECF 40 at 18.

On the same date, March 25, 2013, counsel for Billings Clinic issued a subpoena to produce documents as follows:

All documents of any nature in the possession of the State of Montana, Unemployment Insurance Division, regarding Mark J. Kelley's applications for unemployment compensation benefits on or after March 1, 2011, including but not limited to, detailed earning information & job search information, including any job search log.
ECF 40 at 20. Counsel for the Department responded, stating inter alia that the Department believed state law prohibited it from providing any employer's responses to Kelley's claims, absent a written authorization from the affected employer allowing that information to be released. ECF 40 at 21-22.

On April 15, 2013, counsel for Billings Clinic served a second subpoena on the Department. The second subpoena requested essentially the same information as the first:

All documents in the possession of the State of Montana, Unemployment Insurance Division, regarding Mark J. Kelley's applications for unemployment compensation benefits on or after March 1, 2011, including but not limited to all earnings information and all job search information, including any and all job search logs.

ECF 40 at 23. Billings Clinic does not dispute the motion to quash the first subpoena. Thus, only the second subpoena is at issue.

II. DISCUSSION

A. The Department's Arguments

The Department advances two principal arguments. First, the Department argues that the information Billings Clinic seeks is confidential and protected from disclosure by federal and state law. Id. at 6-11. The Department argues that U.S. Department of Labor regulations require state unemployment compensation ("UC") agencies to "file and diligently pursue a motion to quash" any subpoena that seeks disclosure of confidential information of the type sought here. Id. at 11. Also, the Department argues that the Court should quash the subpoena to protect information submitted by Kelley's other past employers, because the other past employers are not on notice of the issuance of the subpoena. Id. at 3.

Second, the Department argues that, if the Court declines to quash the subpoena in its entirety, the Court should issue an appropriate order prohibiting Billings Clinic from ...


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