HCA is exaggerating subpoena compliance burden, CNN says

Alia Paavola - Print  | 

CNN is arguing that Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare is exaggerating the burden of compliance with a subpoena the media company issued seeking information on a former HCA executive, according to the Nashville Post. 

The subpoena is seeking information on David Carbone, who is suing CNN for defamation related to his time as CEO at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. The medical center is part of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare. Prior to becoming CEO of St. Mary's, Mr. Carbone worked at HCA.

Mr. Carbone claims CNN misrepresented the hospital's mortality rate for pediatric open heart surgeries, which caused him to lose his job. After losing his job at St. Mary's, HCA hired him again, this time to serve as CEO of Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Fla.

Although HCA is not part of the lawsuit, CNN lawyers have requested records related to Mr. Carbone's time with the company. Negotiations have been ongoing since September 2019.

HCA claims the company would face hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs to comply with the subpoena. CNN claims that HCA would only need about $7,000 to comply. 

"At each juncture HCA has met CNN's unfailing cooperation with overblown cost estimates  baked with unreasonable legal fees incurred for plotting HCA's strategy to avoid ESI production," CNN attorneys wrote in a court filing, according to the Post.  "HCA also has outright refused to even a targeted search of Mr. Carbone's HCA email account for relevant, non-privileged communications."

While HCA didn't respond to the Post's request for comment, the healthcare giant has asked the court for a protective order to avoid the cost of complying with the request.

"Despite months of negotiations, CNN takes the position that it is HCA’s burden to shoulder the costs of compliance with its over-broad subpoena. CNN is incorrect," HCA lawyers wrote in a court memo requesting the protective order, according to the Post.  "HCA has respectfully moved the court for the protection the law affords subpoenaed third parties who find themselves in a position neither deserved nor justifiable."

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