December 8th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Cauley v. Clinic, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211892 (November 22, 2022) (Brann, J.)  Currently pending before the Court is Geisinger Clinic’s (“Geisinger”) motion for the entry of a confidentiality and protective order. This case arises from Keith Cauley, M.D., Ph.D.’s allegations that, while he was employed as a radiologist for Geisinger, he was suddenly placed on administrative leave after Geisinger stated that a peer review revealed poor performance on Cauley’s part. While on leave, Cauley retained an attorney who negotiated Cauley’s resignation from Geisinger. This litigation followed and, after the Court granted in part a motion to dismiss Cauley’s second amended complaint—leaving claims for breach of contract and promissory estoppel—the parties began the process of discovery. Geisinger now seeks a confidentiality and protective order related to the peer review investigative information that Cauley seeks. Geisinger argues that a confidentiality and protective order is necessary after a balancing of the relevant factors, as disclosure of the peer review investigations would (1) jeopardize patient identifying information; (2) undermine Geisinger’s privacy interest; and (3) jeopardize public health and safety because the public disclosure of such information would undermine the honest and open dialogue necessary for peer reviews. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has set forth seven non-exhaustive factors that district courts should consider: 1) whether disclosure will violate any privacy interests; 2) whether the information is being sought for a legitimate purpose or an improper purpose; 3) whether disclosure of the information will cause a party embarrassment; 4) whether confidentiality is being sought over information important to public health and safety; 5) whether the sharing of information among litigants will promote fairness and efficiency; 6) whether a party benefitting from the order of confidentiality is a public entity or official; and 7) whether the case involves issues important to the public. Here, the relevant factors weigh in favor of granting Geisinger’s motion.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]



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