Court denies motion to compel health system to produce military records of nurse who allegedly assaulted patient

By Gabriel Neves | Nov 29, 2018

FORT MYERS – The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida recently denied a motion to compel Lee Memorial Health System to produce of military records of an employee accused of assaulting a patient in a suit seeking damages for the plaintiff's mental pain and suffering, loss of capacity and medical expenses.

U.S. District Judge Carol Mirando issued an 11-page ruling Nov. 19 denying the motion in the lawsuit filed by Donia Goines, who was a patient at Cape Coral Hospital, against Lee Memorial Health System and Jeovanni Hechavarria, a nurse employed by Lee Health. 

The suit was moved from the Lee County Circuit Court to the district court because of alleged violations of constitutional rights, section 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in addition of claims of negligent hiring, supervision and retention, negligence, assault and battery.

In court filings, Goines "alleges that Mr. Hechavarria, a nurse employed by Lee Health, sexually assaulted her while she was a patient at Cape Coral Hospital in July 2016." The suit also claimed "another female patient at Cape Coral Hospital filed a police report and informed Lee Health staff and management in March 2015 that she had been sexually assaulted by Mr. Hechavarria, but Lee Health did not take effective action or implement appropriate policies and procedures as Mr. Hechavarria’s employer to oversee or restrain his conduct; namely, Lee Health did not properly investigate him, discipline him, terminate him, require additional training or supervision of him, or limit his access to female patients’ hospital rooms."

Goines is seeking monetary damages for mental pain, suffering, loss of capacity, disability, physical impairment and medical expenses.

In her ruling, Mirando said Goines provided "no support" for the motion to produce the records and for "her belief that Mr. Hechavarria’s military records will demonstrate the pattern of abuse alleged," adding that the plaintiff failed "to explain how the records are relevant to any claim or defense in this case."

Mirando also directed Goines to show cause by Dec. 3 as to why the she should not be ordered under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure to pay for costs and fees.

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