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United States v. Kight

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

March 6, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
BENNETT L. KIGHT, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Bennett L. Kight's (“Defendant”) Motion to Reconsider the Court's Order Unsealing Private Medical, Neuropsychological, and Financial Records [130] (“Motion to Reconsider”).[1] Defendant seeks the Court to reconsider its March 2, 2018, Order [128] denying a variety of Defendant's motions to seal medical records and associated documents.

         Early after the issue of Defendant's incompetency to stand trial was raised by Defendant, the Court allowed various medical records to be sealed because it was unclear if they would later be used to evaluate Defendant's competency. At the time, it was appropriate to protect Defendant's privacy interests in his medical records. During the course of briefing his competency issue, Defendant, however, disclosed in intricate detail in his publicly-filed motions and pleadings, Defendant's medical diagnoses, treatments, and evaluations attributing Defendant's cognitive deterioration to various medical issues he experienced, including injury caused by a trip outside of his home. The competency hearing, which spanned two days in January 2018, focused on detailed medical examination, testing, diagnoses, evaluations, and opinions, and records associated with them. Defendant's medical records and medical history were discussed at length by Defendant's expert, Dr. Jason King, and they were used by Defendant extensively during the examination of Defendant's treating physician, Dr. Chadwick Hales, and during the lengthy cross-examination of the Court's expert, Dr. Daniel Marson. That is, Defendant has made public a broad body of his medical records and intricate detail about his medical history, because, the Court concludes, he believed it was necessary to advocate the issue of his competency. The disclosure of this detailed medical information was useful to the Court in evaluating Defendant's competency to stand trial and it was relied on in detail in the Court's opinion issued on February 2, 2018, [118].

         With that said, it is possible there are entries in the medical records that are unrelated to the medical issues and evidence raised as part of Defendant's incompetency claim. If so, the Court will reconsider if any of the medical records requested to be sealed should be maintained under seal or if it should allow public availability of only redacted records. To assist Defendant with his review of the medical records to determine what, if any, portions should be redacted in the publicly available copies, the Court requires the Defendant to specifically identify that information in the medical records that Defendant has moved to seal and to identify the specific information in such records that has not yet been disclosed in submissions in this case or at the competency hearing in this action. To aid Defendant to meet this requirement, the Court has created the following list of medical events and evaluations that Defendant has relied upon, and which have been disclosed and discussed in motions and pleadings, and at the competency hearing:

1. January 2008, Piedmont Hospital admission for left-frontal intracranial hemorrhage and hematoma and follow-up doctor's visits through spring of 2008, including outpatient records from Drs. Dunlevie, Russell, and Hanson, records from May 2008 Johns Hopkins Medicine Executive Health Program, and records from Dr. Michael Frankel neurological consultation. ([48] at 13, 32; [59] at 2; [81] at 11; [113] at 79, 81-90).
2. June 1, 2016, neuropsychological evaluation by Dr. Jason King, resulting in diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment (“MCI”), multiple domains. ([59] at 3-5; [81] at 13 [113] at 14-125).
3. August 9 and November 15, 2016, evaluations by Dr. Angela Ashley, including Dr. Ashley's vascular dementia diagnosis. ([59] at 6-8; [81] at 16; [113] at 56, 115-16).
4. December 22, 2016, fall, resulting in a new hematoma, broken ribs, and a laceration requiring six stitches. ([55] at 1; [59] at 2; [81] at 18-19; [113] at 124).
5. February 1, 2017, episode of aphasia. ([81] at 19; [114] at 95-101, 186).
6. February 6, 2017, seizure, including treatment notes from Dr. Hany Atallah and Dr. Kimberly Medhane. ([55] at 1-2; [59] at 2; [81] at 20-21; [114] at 186).
7. February 15, 2017 and May 8, 2017, neurological evaluations by Dr. Maria Silva, M.D., regarding follow-up to seizure. ([59] at 9; [81] at 22; [114] at 141-42).
8. March 6, 2017, neurosurgery consultation with Dr. Sidney Wang regarding gait issues. ([81] at 22).
9. March 10, 2017, consultations with Drs. Belagaje and Mahdi at Emory Stroke Clinic. ([114] at 179-82).
10. March 12-16, 2017, urinary and catheter issues culminating in sepsis, including issues with “lengthy mastication.” ...

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