FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 72CV-16-1091]
HONORABLE JOHN C. THREET, JUDGE.
J. Olmstead, Washington Regional Medical Center, for
& Winters, LLP, by: Todd P. Lewis, for appellee Northwest
McCutchen & Sexton, by: Sam Sexton III, for appellee
Shaun Senter, M.D.
LARRYD. VAUGHT, Judge.
interlocutory appeal stems from the order of the Washington
County Circuit Court granting the motion of appellee
Northwest Physicians, LLC's (Northwest) to compel
discovery. On appeal, appellant Washington Regional Medical
Center (WRMC) argues that the circuit court's order
compels the discovery of the medical records of nonparty
patients maintained by WRMC, which is in violation of
Arkansas Rule of Evidence 503, the physician-patient
privilege. On appeal, appellee Dr. Shaun Senter purports to
incorporate the arguments of WRMC and claims that he properly
asserted, and did not waive, the Rule 503 privilege. We
was employed as a cardiologist by Northwest, located in
Bentonville, Arkansas, pursuant to the terms of a March 28,
2011 employment agreement that contained nonsolicitation and
noncompetition covenants. Northwest terminated Senter's
employment on January 19, 2016. Senter subsequently accepted
employment with WRMC.
25, 2016, Northwest filed suit against Senter seeking damages
for breach of the nonsolicitation and noncompete covenants
set forth in the employment agreement. Northwest alleged that
Senter breached the noncompete provision when he became an
employee of WRMC, a competing hospital located within a
twenty-mile radius of Northwest, within the one-year period
following his termination. Northwest also alleged that Senter
breached the nonsolicitation covenant when patients who had
been treated by Senter at Northwest were solicited by Senter
to receive services at WRMC, and these patients actually
received medical services at WRMC.
discovery, Northwest learned that Senter had kept information
on his home computer of over 1, 600 patients he had treated
while employed at Northwest and that he had provided this
information on a thumb drive to WRMC upon his employment
there. Northwest also learned in discovery that a third-party
pacemaker company, Boston Scientific, had provided WRMC with
a list of hundreds of patients Senter had treated while at
Northwest; these patients had been called on by WRMC at the
behest of Senter after he became employed at WRMC; and
approximately two hundred of Senter's patients whom he
had treated at Northwest had been seen or treated by Senter
since he joined WRMC.
propounded interrogatories and requests for production to
Senter seeking the names and contact information of patients
he had seen since his termination of employment with
Northwest and while employed with WRMC and asking whether
WRMC had contacted any of these patients. Senter objected on
several bases, none of which was that the information sought
was protected by the physician-patient privilege.
Northwest issued a subpoena duces tecum to WRMC requesting:
1. For each person treated, consulted or seen by Dr. Shaun
Senter since the date he became employed by You until
February 1, 2017, documents evidencing the following
• Their name;
• Date of each such medical ...