I filed Motions to Compel UNUM to answer my Interrogatories and Document
Production requests after I attempted to confer and Pat Peard just flatly
refused to reconsider any of her objections.
She answered only ONE of my interrogatories and doc. prod. requests fully,
(out of about 37) asserting blanket and unsubstantiated work product,
attorney-client privilege and relevance objections to everything else
including the language of the policy and the claims procedures.
Then she has the gall to tell me I "must" answer all her questions fully.
Here's my response to her:
Judy E. Morris, MD
261 Bumstead Rd.
Monson, MA 01057
September 5, 1999
Patricia Peard Bernstein
Shur, Sawyer, & Nelson, PA
100 Middle Street, West Tower
P.O. Box 9729
Portland, ME 04104-5029
Fax (207) 774-1127
RE: Conference: Plaintiff's responses to UNUM Discovery Requests Information
regarding deposition September 22, 1999.
Dear Ms. Peard,
First some data: I asked you to respond to 21 Interrogatories (taking into
account my numbering mistakes). You gave a complete and meaningful response
to ONE. You asserted blanket work product and attorney-client privilege
objections without justification or privilege logs. You claim that work
prepared in preparation for litigation is privileged, even work done in the
"ordinary course of business" like document language and claims procedures.
Your other objections, again without justification, are relevance.
I asked you to respond to sixteen (16) Document Production requests. You
gave meaningful responses to NONE, once again asserting broad,
unsubstantiated objections of work-product, privilege and relevance, without
explaining your justification.
In your instructions to your Document Production Requests to me you even
quote the Local Rules "If a claim of privilege is asserted in objection to
any of these document requests and any document is not provided on the basis
of that assertion, plaintiff must, in accordance with Local Rule 34.1(E),
identify in the objection the nature of the privilege that is being claimed
with respect to each document. (I assume the key phrase here is "each
document.") You obviously think different rules apply to plaintiffs and
defendants because your objections certainly did not identify "each
document" and then give a reason why you claimed a privilege in refusing to
Furthermore, Judge Freedman stated at the hearing on May 20, 1999 "And
remember also that you don't have to prove anything to defendants through
the discovery process. You'll have to prove it to me, and that will come at
Now, since all of the information and all of the people I've spoken to since
I filed my claims, and you denied them, were done for one reason, and one
reason only, that being that if you denied my legitimate claims, I would be
suing you, all of that information was obtained in preparation for
litigation and you are entitled to none of it (according to your own
definition of work product).
All of the information about my past employment and other activities since
1990 is irrelevant and non-admissible for two reasons.
1) The definition of disability in my policy states "For physicians,
'regular occupation' means the specialty in the practice of medicine which
you were practicing just prior to the date the disability started."
I was a full-time ER doctor for at least a year and a half prior to my date
of disability. My past occupations are irrelevant and inadmissible (and will
not help you anyway). Your efforts to force me to go into long explanations
is for purposes of harassment only.
2) Any information you obtain now would not be admissible in this ERISA case
because the question before the court is whether you had the right to deny
my claims based on the information you had obtained, had you done a proper
and thorough investigation, prior to the time the claim was denied. You do
not get the chance to re-investigate the case now that I've sued you.
Furthermore, other than making extra work for me, you are not going to find
anything that will help your position.
However, since the question I am asking is whether there was bias or
conflict of interest in the investigation and denial of claims and the
information I am seeking has not been previously provided to me and is in
UNUM's possession, I am entitled to it.
Federal Rule Civil Procedure 26(g)(2)(b) states that discovery requests,
responses, or objections made by a party represented by an attorney shall be
signed by at least one attorney.....The signature constitutes a
certification that to the best of the signer's knowledge, information and
belief, formed after a reasonable inquiry, the request, response, or
"(B) not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause
unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation; and (C)
not unreasonable or unduly burdensome or expensive, given the needs of the
Since you apparently claim to know what constitutes work product and work
done in preparation for litigation and throw those terms around freely in
your objections to my discovery requests, you obviously knew that most of
what you were asking me to provide was prepared in preparation for
litigation and therefore not discoverable and only meant to deceive and
harass me and cause me unnecessary work and effort, had I not, based on my
research become very familiar with UNUM's scorched earth litigation tactics.
Now, in response to your individual requests:
First I put a lot of time and effort into answering what questions I could
and providing you with information, including information you requested and
other information that I thought might help you in understanding this claim,
right from the time I filed my claims. Furthermore I repeatedly asked UNUM
verbally and in writing, if they needed more information from myself or
others and the answer was always "We'll let you know." Well they never did.
I am not required to provide you with documents that I have already sent to
UNUM numerous times before or that UNUM could have had for the asking while
they were "investigating" my claims. Asking for documents you already have
Interrogatory No. 9
I think the C.V. I provided you with provides all the information necessary
or relevant to this case. My past employment is not an issue here, only the
employment I held at the time I became disabled. See explanation above.
This is the wording of the policy UNUM wrote. You keep telling me to read
the policy. Well I did. Have you?
If you think I'm submitting a fraudulent claim and are looking for evidence
to impeach me, and you think you have probably cause, than file a criminal
charge. If not, the doctrine of ambiguities applies. Pay my claims!
Interrogatory No. 11
Interviews of my co-workers should have been part of the initial claims
investigation as I've stated before. Therefore any information you now
obtain would be irrelevant and inadmissible in this ERISA case, and evidence
that your initial investigation was incomplete prior to claim denial (even
if you were able to find whatever it is you are looking for). UNUM wrote me
denial letters purporting to have legitimate reasons for denying my claims.
You are not allowed to assert new reasons after the claim is denied and
Why don't you tell me why you want to know these persons names and what
information you wish to gain?
Persons I've talked to since my claims were filed is part of my work
Furthermore, and especially since the time to trial is so far in advance,
and you and UNUM have given me ample reason not to trust you, I will not
divulge the names of other persons without the reasonable assurances that I
have requested from you to make sure they are not harassed or deceived. Any
person with whom I have discussed my condition or this case is a potential
witness in a Federal Lawsuit. Any tampering or deception of them on your
part would constitute a Federal Crime. I am merely offering you the
opportunity to protect yourself from accusations of witness tampering (from
the witnesses) by not talking to my witnesses without my knowledge and
Interrogatory No. 18
The fact that you claim this is a "very standard question" does little to
convince me. UNUM's "standard" claims tactics are harassing, insulting,
unethical, illegal, and invasions of the privacy, among other things, of the
very people who paid high premiums to be protected and spared humiliation
and harassment in the event of disability.
Once again, persons with knowledge of any relevant facts were persons I
talked to in preparation for litigation and are potential witnesses in a
Federal Lawsuit. In fact, in most instances, I would not have had any
contact with most of these persons were it not for this litigation.
It also would be inadmissible, and will not lead to admissible evidence, in
this case as the question is whether UNUM was justified in denying my
claims, based on the evidence they collected, which should have been a good
faith and complete investigation prior to the time the claims were denied.
Once again, why don't you tell me what you are looking for and I might be
able to better answer your question?
Interrogatory No. 21
While I appreciate the fact that you think I am able to handle "all other
legal terms," I am not a lawyer, nor am I able to read your mind. However
since then I did look up this term.
As far as I remember, the plaintiff (myself), has not made any "admissions
or declarations against interest."
The defendant, on the other hand, has made them in practically every written
and verbal communication I've had with them.
You should have copies of audiotapes of Kelly Wentworth and Steve Harris in
which they can be heard engaging in evasions and outright deceptions in
order to avoid answering my questions.
Frankie Puthoff, Peter Mirkin, and Jane Pringle all state in writing that my
doctors all supported their conclusions, and that "none of these physicians
support that she has a distinct medical disorder apart from her psychiatric
condition." Based on Dr. McIlvaine's Attending Physician reports and her
subsequent sworn rebuttals of these conclusions, Puthoff, Mirkin and Pringle
know that there statements are outright lies.
Jane Pringle and Peter Mirkin can't seem to make up their minds whether my
diagnosis is purely psychiatric or whether I have CFS but I'm just not
disabled by it and contradict themselves repeatedly.
Furthermore Peter Mirkin held himself out as an M.D. when talking to Dr.
Joel Klass, during a period when he didn't even have a valid medical
license. This is a Class E Felony according to Maine law.
In any case neither of them has the right to diagnose me or make treatment
and prognostic determinations for me, particularly since, were I to follow
their recommendations, I would suffer harm. This constitutes malpractice.
There are many more examples of this but they are part of my work product
and so you will hear them at the trial, and as the judge said, I'm not
required to prove anything to you.
Just because you claim this is a legitimate request doesn't mean it is. This
information is my work product, was prepared in preparation for litigation,
and would not be admissible because it was not part of UNUM's investigation
of my claim prior to the denial of it. You cannot investigate the claim
only after the lawsuit is filed.
Also the persons I have spoken to are potential witnesses in a Federal
Lawsuit and I will not divulge their names to you without the reasonable
protections I have requested.
Explain to me what it is you are looking for and I might be able to narrow
this and help you find out what it is you are looking for.
If you tell me what I "must" do one more time, I'm going to scream. I will
comply with the law and the rules of the court. They do not require me to
spend hours of time, energy and money, that I don't have, copying the files
I've prepared for litigation so you can go on fishing expeditions for
information that is irrelevant and would not be admissible anyway.
This information was all prepared in preparation for litigation and involves
other persons who are potential witnesses in this lawsuit and I will not
divulge their names unless I have guarantees in writing that they will not
be harassed or tampered with, which means that you may only contact them in
writing or with my presence.
Tell me what you are looking for and if it's reasonable, I will supply you
It is relevant that UNUM could have, and to the extent they think it is
relevant, should have, obtained this information before they denied my
claims. Furthermore, as I've stated umpteen times already, even if you
found something in these records, it does not justify denying my claims two
years ago after supposedly conducting a thorough investigation.
UNUM was too lazy to do a thorough and fair investigation of my claims prior
to concocting their ridiculous pretense to deny my claims two years ago. Any
information you obtained now is not relevant or admissible.
Once again, if you think my claims are fraudulent, file criminal charges. If
not. Pay the claims! My character has nothing to do with it. My medical
condition has been diagnosed by reputable experts, verified by objective
tests, and the limitations imposed by this illness published in teaching
materials put out by the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes
of Health. The definition of disability in your policies contains nothing
about character or any statements that allow UNUM to deny any claim they
feel like and then go on a witch hunt.
I restate all of my previous objections.
I don't know what you mean by "reserve the right to hold open your
deposition after we have finished on the afternoon of September 22 until
such time as we receive the requested information" but if the above answers
are not satisfactory then I suggest you take it up with Judge Freedman.
And while we're on the subject of the upcoming deposition, I wish to inform
you that I will be exercising all of my rights under the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Specifically:
1) "If requested by the deponent or a party before completion of the
deposition, the deponent shall have 30 days after being notified by the
officer that the transcript or recording is available in which to review the
transcript or recording, and if there are changes in form or substance, to
sign a statement reciting such changes and the reasons given by the deponent
for making them. The officer shall indicate in the certificate prescribed
by subdivision (f)(1) whether any review was requested and, if so, shall
append any changes made by the deponent during the period allowed."
I wish to review the deposition transcript and/or recording as indicated
2) F.R.C.P. 30(b)(3) "With prior notice to the deponent and other parties,
any party may designate another method to record the deponent's testimony in
addition to the method specified by the person taking the deposition. The
additional record or transcript shall be made at that party's expense unless
the court otherwise orders."
This is to advise you that I will be recording this deposition both by audio
and visual recording. As such I will have a designated person to run the
videotape equipment and a second person to run the back-up audiotape
equipment. I request that you be sure I have wall sockets to plug in the AC
adapters for this equipment. We will provide the equipment and extension
3) I have given Mr. Jack Artale limited power of attorney with regards to
this litigation and as such, he will be accompanying me and be present in
all depositions and all other appearances that have anything to do with this
4) Because of the fluctuations in my energy, concentration, and ability to
control my emotions I am asking you to limit the deposition to no more than
4 hours in any given day. Although my symptoms fluctuate depending on the
amount of rest I've had and the time in the cycling of the disease, I feel
this is a reasonable request and will assure that I am alert and able to
answer your questions to the best of my ability. Also since I am acting as
my own attorney, I wish to be mentally alert at all times during this
If you agree to this condition, it will save us from having to bother Judge
5) I want to let you know that I am fully aware of F.R.C.P. 30(d)(3) and if
"at any time during a deposition, on motion of a party of the deponent and
upon a showing that the examination is being conducted in bad faith, or in
such a manner as unreasonably to annoy, embarrass, or oppress the deponent
or party,...... the court.....may order the officer conducting the
examination to cease forthwith from taking the deposition, or may limit the
scope and manner of the taking of the deposition as provided in Rule 26(c)."
I trust you will have a pleasant visit in our lovely area.
Judy Morris, MD
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
A copy of the above letter was faxed to Pat Peard on September 5, 1999 (with
valid transmission report) and a back-up copy sent by postage pre-paid US
Postal Mail on September 6, 1999.
Judy Morris, MD
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Created: September 9, 1999
Last Updated: May 28, 2000