Radzick v. Connecticut Children's Medical Center
Ordinarily, discovery orders are not subject to immediate appellate review as final judgments. Paul Radzick brought this action, individually and as administrator of the estate of Jonathan Radzik, his minor son, against several defendants, including Dr. Francisco Sylvester, alleging, inter alia, that Sylvester prescribed the drug Remicade for Jonathan Radzik, aware of warnings that the drug's use was known to cause fatal T-cell lymphomas in certain patients. Jonathan Radzik died from HTCL, Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma. The plaintiff alleged a failure to obtain parental permission to prescribe Remicade and battery. A discovery dispute arose concerning electronic documents sought from Sylvester's computers pertaining to Jonathan Radzik, Remicade or HTCL. Ultimately, the trial court granted the plaintiff's motion to compel discovery, finding the timing, nature and extent of Sylvester's knowledge of the alleged link between Remicade and HTCL relevant to the informed consent claim. Given third party privacy issues, the court ordered that a discovery master would oversee the imaging of three computers and a forensic consultant would perform the search subject to a protective order, with the results reported to the court, in camera. The defendants appealed, challenging the order. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal. The discovery order did not constitute an appealable final judgment under the 1983 Supreme Court decision in State v. Curcio. The defendants argued, for Curcio's first prong, that the discovery order was a separate and distinct proceeding and the forensic imaging likely will capture privileged information of nonparty patients. The panel distinguished the 2009 Supreme Court decision in Abreu v. Leone and 2012 decision in Woodbury Knoll, LLC v. Shipman & Goodwin, LLP, which the defendants cited. In those cases the discovery orders were directed at nonparties. The issues here involved a discovery dispute between parties in ongoing litigation and it did not constitute a separate and distinct proceeding. The order provided protections for information regarding nonparties. Curcio's second prong also was unmet. The order did not, as claimed, threaten the preservation of a right secured to the defendants that would be irretrievably lost short of immediate appellate review. Because the order did not provide for dissemination or publication of the imaging, the defendants' rights were not irretrievably lost and may never be compromised, should the trial court, following review, make such a determination.