Doctor ordered by Southern District court to produce emails in defamation suit

By Elizabeth Alt | Jun 12, 2018

SAN DIEGO – On May 24, the Southern California District Court granted part of Dr. Jason Toranto’s motion to compel another doctor to produce emails relating to his suit over allegations that multiple doctors conspired to keep him from getting a job with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

SAN DIEGO – On May 24, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted part of Dr. Jason Toranto’s motion to compel another doctor to produce emails relating to his suit over allegations that multiple doctors conspired to keep him from getting a job with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Magistrate Judge Nita L. Stormes issued the court order granting in part Toranto’s motion to compel Dr. Daniel Jaffurs to produce emails.

Toranto alleged that Jaffurs and other doctors conspired to keep him from getting a job at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. In his original complaint, Toranto alleged Jaffurs made “made false and defamatory statements” to keep him from getting the job at CHOC and that Jaffurs conspired with Dr. Amanda Gosman to keep Toranto from receiving privileges at Rady Hospital in San Diego.

Toranto filed a motion to compel Jaffurs to produce 157 emails that contain communications with Jaffurs and Gosman, and multiple doctors and administrators at the University of California, Irvine, CHOC and Rady’s.

The court ordered Jaffurs to produce over half of the 157 emails Toranto requested that relate to “Plaintiff’s broader allegations that Dr. Jaffurs engaged in a pattern of attacks against surgeons who he perceived to be a competitive threat.”

The court disagreed with Jaffurs’ argument that producing the emails between him and parties who were not part of the litigation is an invasion of privacy, stating “these non-parties’ privacy should not be infringed just because plaintiff suspects the emails are about him, regardless of the protective order in place.”

Stormes noted that the court only requested emails after an in-camera review that they suspected may have to do with Toranto’s allegations, and any confidential information can be protected. 

“The court does not find the privacy concerns to be a bar to production of the above emails,” the order states.

Stormes noted that the court would not award expenses, and denied the motion for sanctions, “because plaintiff’s motion to compel was granted only in part, and because the court agreed with Dr. Jaffurs’s objections on many of the emails as irrelevant to the claims and defenses in the case.”

The court order granted the motion to compel in part, denying the motion relating to emails the court found unrelated to the case, and granted the motion to seal supplemental documents

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California case number 3:16-cv-1709-JAH-NLS

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