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Merrifield v. Gussman

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

November 6, 2017

THOMAS MERRIFIELD
v.
ROBERT GUSSMAN, et al.

          ORDER

          RYA W. ZOBEL, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before me are a number of outstanding discovery motions (Docket ## 28, 59, 60, 61, 72, 87, 135, and 147). In essence, plaintiff seeks to discover information from 2011 to the present and to attach additional assessments up to $5, 000, 000. Defendants contend that discovery should be limited to 2014 and separately move for protective orders concerning various subpoenas duces tecum.

         I. Analysis

         A. Attachment of Additional Assets

         One day after this case was filed, plaintiff filed an ex-parte motion for prejudgment attachment. Docket # 7. On May 5, 2017, “[i]n light of the facts alleged in his Verified Complaint, and further stated in his motion, ” I allowed plaintiff's ex-parte motion for prejudgment attachment “in an amount of no more than $1.3 million.”[1] Docket # 10. Plaintiff subsequently moved to attach additional assets because he maintains that “he is reasonably likely to recover a judgment against Defendants in excess of $5 million.” Docket # 28, at 3. I ordered plaintiff to submit supplemental evidence in support of his claim, and “to provide specific amounts of tangible losses, such as medical bills, cost of services occasioned by and required as a result of defendants' conduct, and loss of income.” Docket # 93. Plaintiff provided an itemized list of his medical expenses as of August 15, 2014, which totaled $368, 425.47.[2]Defendant Gussman contends that “the medical bills causally connected to the assault total approximately $52, 000, ” Docket # 150, at 5, and denotes these expenses. See Docket # 150-1. Even accepting plaintiff's expenses in full, he has not shown there is a reasonable likelihood that he would recover judgment in an amount equal to or greater than the amount of $5 million. Accordingly, I decline to allow attachment of additional assets.

         B. Discovery Time Period

         Plaintiff argues that discovery from 2011 through the present is necessary to demonstrate that the alleged conspiracy “was hatched long before 2013, and continued long after Mr. Merrifield was attacked, ” on August 15, 2014. Docket # 147, at 2. I disagree. The discovery shall be limited to the period of January 1, 2014 through August 31, 2015.

         Plaintiff's claims against defendants are centrally based on the following allegations, all of which occurred in 2014:

• “Gussman concocted a plan to hire a hit-man to attack and seriously injure or kill Mr. Merrifield.” Docket # 1 (“Verified Complaint”), at ¶ 44;
• “Gussman met with Tracey Valentine, and Reardon. They agreed with Gussman's plan to hire a hit-man to attack Mr. Merrifield at his home in Douglasville, Georgia.” Id. at ¶ 45;
• “[In late July 2014, ] Dearth was in Florida when Reardon called to discuss Gussman's plan.” Id. at ¶ 49;
• “Dearth wanted the money, so he agreed to the job and flew back to Boston. Reardon picked him up at the airport in the rental car they would later drive from Massachusetts to Georgia to carry out Gussman's plan for revenge.” Id. at ¶ 52;
• “On August 13, [2014, ] Reardon and Dearth began their trip from Boston to Atlanta.” Id. at ¶ 60;
• On August 15, 2014, Dearth attacked plaintiff at his home in Georgia, while Reardon sat in the car. Id. ...

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