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United States v. Luthra

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

January 9, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RITA LUTHRA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER REGARDING GOVERNMENT'S MOTION FOR EXCLUDABLE DELAY UNDER THE SPEEDY TRIAL ACT (Dkt. No. 97)

          KATHERINE A. ROBERTSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         On August 1, 2017, Defendant Rita Luthra, M.D., was charged in a three count superseding indictment with aiding and abetting the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1320d-6(a) and 18 U.S.C. § 2 (Count One), tampering with a witness, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(3) (Count Two), and obstructing a criminal investigation of a health care offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1518 (Count Three) (Dkt. No. 89). Currently pending before the court is the government's motion to exclude from the Speedy Trial Act's ("STA") 70-day trial requirement the period from August 4, 2017 through November 19, 2017. Defendant opposes the government's motion on the ground that the time is not excludable under the STA (Dkt. No. 101).

         After consideration of the pleadings and after argument on October 20, 2017, the government's motion for excludable delay is GRANTED for the reasons detailed below.

         II. Background

         Because the procedural history of the case is central to the court's resolution of the government's motion, it is described in detail.

October 21, 2015: Grand jury returns a three-count indictment ("original indictment") charging Defendant with violating the Anti-Kickback Statute ("AKS"), 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b)(1)(B) (Count One); wrongfully disclosing individually identifiable health information, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1320d-6(a) (Count Two); and obstructing a criminal investigation of a health care offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1518 (Count Three) (Dkt. No. 3).
October 22, 2015: Defendant is arrested (Dkt. No. 8).
October 30, 2015: Defendant is arraigned before the undersigned. The court grants the parties' joint request to exclude from the STA's calculation the period between October 30, 2015 and December 14, 2015 in the "[i]nterests of justice, " 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A) (Dkt. No. 15, 16, 22).
December 7, 2015: The parties file their joint initial status report explaining Defendant's discovery request for specific material (Dkt. No. 18 at 1-2).
December 14, 2015: Initial status conference held. Defendant's counsel indicates his need for additional time to review the voluminous discovery (Dkt. No. 19). Based on the parties' joint request, the court excludes the period from December 14, 2015 through March 22, 2016 in the "[i]nterests of justice, " 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A) (Dkt. Nos. 18 at 4, 23).
March 22, 2016: Interim status conference held. The parties request, and the court agrees, to exclude the period between March 22, 2016 and the final status conference scheduled for June 7, 2016, in the "[i]nterests of justice, " 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A) (Dkt. No. 28, 29).
May 26, 2016: Defendant files an assented-to motion asking the court to schedule a status conference regarding production of electronic discovery and "to address the issues presented by the overwhelming volume of discovery in this complex case" (Dkt. No. 30 at 1-2). Consequently, the final status conference set for June 7, 2016 is cancelled and a final status/discovery conference is scheduled for June 27, 2016 (Dkt. Nos. 31, 32).
June 27, 2016: Final status/discovery conference is held. The court sets July 15, 2016 as the filing date for Defendant's motions to compel discovery (Dkt. No. 33). Based on "[t]he interests of justice, " 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A), the court allows the government's assented-to motion to exclude from the STA's calculation the period between June 7, 2016 and July 15, 2016 (the due date for filing motions to compel, if any) (Dkt. Nos. 33- 36).
July 15, 2016: Defendant moves to compel the government to provide information responsive to eighteen discovery requests, including information necessary to develop her claims of selective and vindictive prosecution and to defend against the charged violation of the AKS (Dkt. No. 37, 38).
August 5, 2016: After receiving an assented-to extension of time to file its response to Defendant's motion to compel, the government files its objection to Defendant's motion with limited exceptions (Dkt. Nos. 41-44).
August 9, 2016: Defendant files her response to the government's objections (Dkt. No. 45).
September 1, 2016: The government files an assented-to motion to continue the hearing on Defendant's motion to compel from September 1, 2016 to September 7, 2016 (Dkt. No. 47-49).
September 7, 2016: Hearing held on Defendant's motion to compel discovery (Dkt. No. 50). The court takes the motion under advisement (id.).
October 12, 2016: The undersigned issues an order granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion to compel discovery (Dkt. No. 53). See United States v. Luthra, Case No. 15-cr-30032-MGM, 2016 WL 5946864, at *10 (D. Mass. Oct. 12, 2016).
November 18, 2016: The presiding judge denies as moot and without prejudice Defendant's appeal of the undersigned's decision on Defendant's motion to compel discovery (Dkt. No. 54-56).
November 29, 2016: The government files an assented-to motion for excludable delay based on its estimation of the time it will require to produce discovery pursuant to the court's October 12, 2016 order (Dkt. No. 57). Based on the "[i]nterests of justice, " 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A), the court grants the assented-to motion and excludes the time between July 25, 2016 and January 23, 2017 (Dkt. Nos. 59, 60).
January 23, 2017: Status conference held. Defendant requests additional time to review the discovery. A final status conference is scheduled for March 8, 2017. The parties agree that the period of time between January 23, 2017 and March 8, 2017 should be excluded from the speedy trial calculation and the court excludes the period in the "[i]nterests of justice, " 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A) (Dkt. Nos. 63, 64, 65, 67).
February 13, 2017: Defendant files an assented-to motion requesting an extension of time to file discovery motions and a continuance of the final status conference "until the parties either report that all discovery has been produced and that no further discovery motion practice is anticipated, or the parties report that they are at an impasse, and that [Defendant] intends to file discovery motions" (Dkt. No. 68). The court allows the motion and sets March 17, 2017 as the new deadline to file discovery motions and reschedules the final status conference to March 30, 2017 (Dkt. No. 70).
March 30, 2017: Final status conference held. The undersigned orders Defendant to file a motions to dismiss, if any, by June 23, 2017, schedules the initial pretrial conference to be held before the presiding judge on August 4, 2017, and sets a trial date of October 2, 2017 (Dkt. Nos. 76, 77). Granting the government's assented-to motion for excludable delay in the "[i]nterests of justice, " 18 U.S.C. ยง 3161(h)(7)(A), the court excludes the period ...

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