United States District Court, District of Columbia
IN RE APPLICATION OF SASHA DIGIULIAN AND JOHN CHARLES DIGIULIAN FOR SUBPOENA FOR DOCUMENTS AND TO PRODUCE TESTIMONY FROM EDWARD T. CULLEN, M.D.
M. MERIWEATHER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Sasha DiGiulian and John Charles DiGiulian
(“Petitioners”) seek an order from the Court,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782, approving the issuance of
a subpoena that would direct Dr. Edward T. Cullen
(“Respondent” or “Dr. Cullen”) to
produce medical records and appear and testify at a
deposition. See Ex Parte Pet. for Order Produce
Docs. and Test. for Use in Foreign Proceeding
(“Petition”) at 1, ECF No. 1. Petitioners intend
to use this discovery to challenge the validity of their
paternal grandmother's will in a proceeding pending
before a court in Quebec, Canada. See id.;
Pet'rs' Mot. for Entry Order Authorizing Subpoenas
(“Mot. for Entry Order”), ECF No. 3. Dr. Cullen
did not oppose the Petition, and appears to have voluntarily
provided some of the records that Petitioners seek.
See Mot. for Hr'g Regarding Entry Order
Authorizing Subpoenas and Dep. (“Mot. for Hr'g
II”) ¶ 4, ECF No. 6. Having considered the
Petition, related filings,  and applicable law, the Court
GRANTS the Petition.
December 14, 2017, Petitioners filed an ex parte
petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782, seeking an order
authorizing the issuance of discovery for use in a foreign
proceeding in Canada. See Pet. at 1. Specifically,
Petitioners wish to issue a subpoena to compel Dr. Cullen to
appear for a deposition and produce certain medical records.
See Id. In the Petition, Petitioners advised the
Court that they “imminently” intended to file an
action in Quebec Superior Court challenging the validity of
the April 29, 2015 will of their paternal grandmother, Rita
DiGiulian, based on her alleged mental incapacity and undue
influence. Id.; Pet., Ex. A (“Steinberg
Decl.”) ¶¶ 6, 13, ECF No. 1-2. Petitioners
have since advised the Court that they filed the action in
the Quebec court on February 15, 2018. Mot. for Hr'g I
time of her death on January 27, 2017, Rita DiGiulian jointly
owned a piece of real estate in Quebec, Canada, with
Petitioners' mother, Andrea DiGiulian. See
Steinberg Decl. ¶ 12. Petitioners indicate that they
have possession of two wills purportedly endorsed by Rita
DiGiulian as her last will and testament that pertain to this
jointly owned property: (1) a March 21, 2013 will providing
that Petitioners, as issue of Rita DiGiulian's
predeceased son and Petitioners' father, would each
receive 50 percent of Rita DiGiulian's joint ownership
interest in the property; and (2) an April 29, 2015 will,
altering the 2013 will and divesting Petitioners of all
interest in Rita DiGiulian's joint ownership interest in
the property. Id. ¶ 13. Petitioners also assert
that Rita DiGiulian exhibited signs of dementia during a June
5, 2015 video deposition taken in an unrelated matter.
Id. ¶ 15; Mem. in Supp. Pet. (“Mem. in
Supp.”) at 2, ECF No. 1-1. Petitioners note that in
this deposition, Rita DiGiulian was unable to recognize or
identify her own lawyer or remember personal details,
including her birth date, her residence at the time, and her
grandchildren's names. Steinberg Decl. ¶ 15.
state that from 2013 to 2017, Dr. Cullen served as Rita
DiGiulian's primary care physician. Steinberg Decl.
¶ 18. Prior to the June 5 video deposition, Dr. Cullen
allegedly described Rita DiGiulian's health as fragile.
See Mem. in Supp. at 2. Petitioners assert that for
these reasons, Dr. Cullen's records and testimony
regarding Rita DiGiulian are relevant and necessary for their
Canadian proceeding. Pet. at 1-2; Steinberg Decl. ¶ 23.
Specifically, in addition to deposition testimony,
Petitioners seek the following documents from Dr. Cullen:
1. Rita DiGiulian's medical records from January 1, 2013
through June 30, 2015, including, but not limited to all
notes, charts, test results or other writings;
2. All letters, correspondence, emails, and other documents
between Dr. Cullen's and/or his office and third persons
in which Dr. Cullen references Rita DiGiulian's
medical/mental state, from January 1, 2013 through June 30,
3. All records, letters, correspondence, emails, and other
documents received by Dr. Cullen and/or his office related to
Rita DiGiulian's treatment, and/or upon which Dr. Cullen
or his office relied, related to Rita DiGiulian's medical
treatment, from January 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015;
4. All prescriptions written by Dr. Cullen for Rita DiGiulian
from January 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015;
5. All medical referrals by Dr. Cullen for Rita DiGiulian
from January 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015; and
6. All other documents and/or things in Dr. Cullen's
possession, custody or control, that are relevant to Rita
DiGiulian's mental and/or medical state between January
1, 2013 and June 30, 2015.
Mem. in Supp. at 3.
December 28, 2017, the Court entered an Order to Show Cause
directing Petitioners to serve the Order and the Petition
upon Dr. Cullen, and directing Dr. Cullen to file a response
by January 22, 2018 if he intended to oppose the Petition.
See Order to Show Cause, ECF No. 2. Petitioners
timely served the Order and Petition on Dr. Cullen by
facsimile and by hand delivery to his office in Bethesda,
Maryland. See Mot. for Entry Order ¶¶ 4-5
& Exs. A-C. Dr. Cullen has filed no opposition, and
Petitioners represent that Dr. Cullen has voluntarily
provided some of the requested medical records. Mot. for
Hr'g II ¶ 4. In accordance with a request from the
Court, Petitioners also filed a supplemental ...