Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Judge Blocks Subpoena For Victims' Records
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
An attempt by the man charged in the deaths of 25 patients to use some of those patients records from a civil case as part of his defense has been blocked at the last minute by a federal judge.
In a decision issued late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns granted a motion to quash the subpoena that had been filed in behalf of Barry Cadden, whose trial on racketeering and second degree murder charges gets underway todayBoston, Mass..
Cadden had sought victims' records compiled in a civil suit filed in behalf of victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak, but Stearns concluded that the materials Cadden sought were not subject to subpoena.
"The testimonial statements and expert disclosures are specifically excluded from subpoena," Stearns wrote.
The motion to quash was filed by the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC), a panel of lawyers representing victims of the 2012 outbreak.
In their motion the PSC charged that Cadden was trying to skirt the rules that govern evidence and discovery in criminal cases.
Noting that Cadden "is before this court on serious criminal charges for his actions resulting in deaths and serious injuries," the PSC added, "now he asks his own victims to help him get away with murder."
Under the subpoena the records, including deposition testimony and expert witness reports, were to be turned over by tomorrow.
The PSC charged that the subpoena failed to comply with the detailed requirements set in previous court cases and was designed to allow Cadden "to go on a fishing expedition for evidence that might help his criminal case."
The 2012 outbreak was caused by fungus contaminated methylprednisolone acetate shipped from NECC's Framingham, Mass. facility to health care providers across the country. Seventy seven patients died and hundreds of others were sickened.
Cadden's case is the first to go to trial following a two-year federal probe of the outbreak. The jury selection process began today with prospective jurors filling out a questionnaire. A panel of 16 jurors is expected to be selected by Friday.