Judges Opinions Public Notices, — October 13, 2021 8:38 — 0 Comments

Public Notices, October 13, 2021

Volume 59, No. 11

 

PUBLIC NOTICES

DECEDENTS’ ESTATES

CHANGE OF NAME

NOTICE OF ACTION IN MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Rebecca Espinosa, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Margaret Lutz, deceased, v. Luthercare, et al., Spang Crest, et al., and Musaddiq N. Nazeeri, M.D., et al.

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Letters Testamentary or of Administration have been granted in the following estates. All persons indebted to the said estate are required to make payment, and those having claims or demands to present the same without delay to the administrators or executors named.

 

FIRST PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF HOWARD K. VASSALLO, late of Myerstown Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

John M. Zimmerman, Administrator

 

Caleb J. Zimmerman, Esquire

Zimmerman Law Office

466 Jonestown Road

Jonestown, PA 17038

 

ESTATE OF MADELINE A. CHORNEY, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased August 21, 2021. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Mr. Michael J. Chorney, Executor

1931 Wexford Road

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

Bradford Dorrance, Esquire

Keefer Wood Allen & Rahal, LLP

417 Walnut Street, 3rd Floor, Rear

  1. O. Box 11963

Harrisburg, PA 17108-1963

 

 

ESTATE OF ANITA J. RISSER, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

 

Bonita S. Golla, Co-Executor

 

Robert L. Bomgardner, Co-Executor

 

Gerald J. Brinser, Esquire

P.O. Box 323

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

ESTATE OF LESTER N. BERGER, JR., late of Heidelberg Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Michael A. Berger, Executor

237 S. Market Street

Schaefferstown, PA 17088

 

Thomas S. Long, Esquire

Long Brightbill

315 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF BARBARA A. MILLER a/k/a BARBARA ANN MILLER, late of Millcreek Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Kathy D. Venning, Executrix

1424 Hillpoint Circle

Sinking Spring, PA 19608

 

Timothy T. Engler, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe, Attorneys

36 West Main Avenue,

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF STANLEY R. CORBIN, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Nora Eileen Drust, Executor

17801 Lake Road

Lakewood, OH 44107

 

Stephanie E. Murphy, Esquire

108 W. Main St., P.O. Box 330

Annville, PA 17003

 

ESTATE OF RONALD BETZ, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Tammy Knight, Administrator

544 W. Walnut Street

Cleona, PA 17042

 

  1. Chadwick Schnee, Esquire

108 W. Main St., P.O. Box 330

Annville, PA 17003

 

ESTATE OF LINDA LAUER, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Cory Lauer, Administrator

52 N. Lancaster Street

Annville, PA 17003

 

  1. Chadwick Schnee, Esquire

108 W. Main St., P.O. Box 330

Annville, PA 17003

 

ESTATE OF CAMILLE S. TYLDEN, late of Cornwall Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Michelle S. Hazel, Executor

5406 Blantyre Road

Broad Run, VA 20137

 

Stephanie E. Murphy, Esquire

108 W. Main St., P.O. Box 330

Annville, PA 17003

 

ESTATE OF MELVIN A. RITTEL a/k/a MELVIN AMMON RITTEL, late of Annville Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrators.

 

Jamie H. Rittel, Administrator

322 Reigerts Ln.

Annville, PA 17003

 

Joey A. Rittel, Administrator

1141 Alpha Ave.

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

Michael M. Rittel, Administrator

1450 North State Route 934

Annville, PA 17003

 

  1. Chadwick Schnee, Esquire

108 W. Main St., P.O. Box 330

Annville, PA 17003

 

ESTATE OF CHING L. STODDART, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Co-Administrators.

 

Treasure Stoddart, Co-Administrator

 

Treavor B. Stoddart, Co-Administrator

 

Ching B. Stoddart, Co-Administrator

 

Stephen D. W. Miller, Esquire, CELA

Miller Law Firm PC

718 Poplar Street, Suite 1

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF KATHY J. RHOADS, late of North Cornwall Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrators.

 

Dustin J. Rhoads, Administrator

1897 Walnut Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

Barbara J. Wolfe, Administrator

2202 Baltimore Pike

Gettysburg, PA 17325

 

Donna Long Brightbill, Esquire

Long Brightbill

315 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

SECOND PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF RUTH ANNA SEIBERT, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased February 27, 2021. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Jean D. Seibert, Executor

 

Jean D. Seibert, Esquire

Caldwell & Kearns, PC

3631 N. Front St.

Harrisburg, PA 17110

 

ESTATE OF JASON C. MORRIS, late of Myerstown Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

 

Brijana N. Morris, Administratrix

 

Katherine L. McDonald, Esquire

Dethlefs-Pykosh Law Group, LLC

2132 Market Street

Camp Hill, PA 17011

(717) 975-9446

 

ESTATE OF MILDRED W. WEIDMAN, late of Myerstown Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Franklin L. Weidman, Executor

366 West Washington Avenue

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe, Attorneys

36 West Main Avenue,

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

THIRD PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF NANCY B. LATSHAW, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Jay G. Saylor, Executor

275 West Strack Drive

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe, Attorneys

36 West Main Avenue,

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF CRAIG L. LEISEY, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

 

Ashley L. Santer, Administratrix

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF JAQUELINE M. OWENS, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Christopher G. Spicer, Executor

133 Delaware Road

Pa Furnace, PA 16865

 

Joseph M. Farrell, Esquire

201/203 South Railroad Street

P.O. Box 113

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

ESTATE OF GLORIA S. KETTERING, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

 

Thomas J. Kettering, Co-Executor

 

Cynthia A. Frantz, Co-Executor

 

Keith D. Wagner, Esquire

P.O. Box 323

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

ESTATE OF DAVID M. ROCK, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Tracey Yasi, Executor

 

Stacey W. Betts, Esquire

75 East Main Street

Mount Joy, PA 17552

 

ESTATE OF CHARLES H. LUCABAUGH, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Lisa M. Buckwalter, Administrator

354 Sunnyside Road

Newmanstown, PA 17073

 

John D. Enck, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Attorney

 

CHANGE OF NAME

 

Notice is hereby given that on 22nd day of September, 2021, the petition of Manuel Enrique Ricar- Nuesi was filed to Lebanon County docket no. 2021-01158 requesting a decree to allow a correction of name. Petitioner requests his name be changed to Manuel Enrique Ricart- Nuesi. The court has fixed the 1st day of November, 2021, at 8:30 A.M. in Courtroom 1 of the Lebanon County Courthouse, located at 400 South 8th Street, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, as the time and place for the hearing of said petition, when and where all persons interested may appear and show cause, if any they have, why the prayer of the said Petitioner should not be granted.

 

Manuel Ricar

250 E. Maple St.

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

NOTICE OF ACTION IN MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE

 

COURT OF COMMON PLEAS

CIVIL DIVISION

LEBANON COUNTY

No. 2021-00817

 

WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A. S/B/M

WACHOVIA BANK, NATIONAL

ASSOCIATION

 

Plaintiff

 

vs.

 

Unknown Heirs, Successors, Assigns and All

Persons, Firms or Associations Claiming Right,

Title or Interest from or under Terrence M.

Gingrich, Jr., Deceased

 

Defendant

 

NOTICE

 

TO:

Unknown Heirs, Successors, Assigns and All Persons, Firms or Associations Claiming Right, Title or

Interest from or under Terrence M. Gingrich, Jr., Deceased

 

You are hereby notified that on July 13, 2021, Plaintiff, WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A. S/B/M

WACHOVIA BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION filed a Mortgage Foreclosure Complaint endorsed

with a Notice to Defend, against you in the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County Pennsylvania,

docket No. 2021-00817. Wherein Plaintiff seeks to foreclose on the mortgage secured on your property

located at 1572 Chestnut St, Lebanon, PA 17042 whereupon your property would be sold by the Sheriff

of Lebanon County.

 

You are hereby notified to plead to the above referenced Complaint on or before 20 days from

the date of this publication or a Judgment will be entered against you.

 

NOTICE

 

You have been sued in Court. If you wish to defend against the claims set forth in the following pages,

you must take action within twenty (20) days after this Complaint and notice are served, by entering a

written appearance personally or by attorney and filing in writing with the court your defenses or

objections to the claims set forth against you. You are warned that if you fail to do so the case may

proceed without further notice for any money claimed in the complaint or for any other claim or relief

requested by the Plaintiff. you may lose money or property or other rights important to you.

 

YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS NOTICE TO YOUR LAWYER AT ONCE. IF YOU DO

NOT HAVE A LAWYER OR CANNOT AFFORD ONE, GO TO OR TELEPHONE THE OFFICE SET FORTH BELOW TO FIND OUT WHERE YOU CAN GET LEGAL HELP.

 

MIDPENN LEGAL SERVICES 513

CHESTNUT STREET, SUITE 1 LEBANON,

PA 17042 TELEPHONE: (717) 274-2834

 

 

 

 

 

JUDGES OPINION

 

Rebecca Espinosa, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Margaret Lutz, deceased, v. Luthercare, et al., Spang Crest, et al., and Musaddiq N. Nazeeri, M.D., et al.

 

Civil Action-Law-Medical Malpractice-Negligence-Discovery-Depositions-Manner of Appearance-Facial Covering or Mask Worn by Witness-Duty of the Factfinder-Credibility-Trial Court Discretion-Facial Expressions

 

Rebecca Espinosa (“Plaintiff”) filed the within action following the death of her mother, Margaret Lutz (“Decedent”) alleging that Defendants Spang Crest and its employee or contractor Musaddiq N. Nazeeri (“Dr. Nazeeri”) caused Decedent’s death by failing properly to evaluate and treat her while she was a resident of Spang Crest’s facility.  Plaintiff has filed a Motion to Compel Dr. Nazeeri to appear for a videotaped deposition and to provide testimony at that deposition without wearing a facial covering or mask.

 

  1. As a factfinder in a trial on a quest for the truth, one of the important tools in the factfinder’s toolbox is the demeanor of a witness.

 

  1. The demeanor of a witness is the very touchstone of credibility.

 

  1. A factfinder should be able to see witnesses as they testify.

 

  1. A trial court possesses discretion in determining how to manage court proceedings including discovery.

 

  1. Despite precautions undertaken to minimize the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic including the provision of testimony behind Plexiglass shields, the Court never has permitted a witness to wear a mask or facial covering while testifying.

 

  1. When a process is available that reduces the risk of infection to an almost de minimus level, that process should be preferred over one that obscures the facial expressions of a witness providing testimony.

 

  1. Where precautionary measures against COVID-19 will be undertaken that reduce the risk of infection to an almost de minimus level including allowing Dr. Nazeeri to be deposed while sitting in a room by himself with no one else present, Dr. Nazeeri will not be permitted to testify during the deposition wearing a mask or facial covering.

L.C.C.C.P. No. 2019-02130, Opinion by Bradford H. Charles, Judge, July 28, 2021.

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LEBANON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

 

CIVIL ACTION – LAW

 

REBECCA ESPINOSA, Individually         :

And as Administrator of the Estate of        :

Margaret Lutz, deceased,                             :           No. 2019-02130

Plaintiff                                                          :

:

  1. :

:

LUTHERCARE, ET AL                                         :

SPANG CREST, ET AL                              :

MUSADDIQ N. NAZEERI, M.D., ET AL :

Defendants                                         :

 

ORDER OF COURT

AND NOW, this 28th day of July, 2021, in accordance with the attached Opinion, the Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel the unmasked deposition of Dr. Musaddiq Nazeeri is GRANTED.  Dr. Nazeeri is to appear for a deposition at a date and time selected by the Plaintiff.  During the deposition, Dr. Nazeeri will not be permitted to wear a mask, but he will be able to be deposed while sitting in a room without anyone else present.

                                                                                    BY THE COURT:

 

__________________________J.

 

 

cc:       Justin Bernstein, Esquire// 334 W Front St., Media PA 19063

Andrew Foulkrod, Esquire// 1011 Mumma Rd., Ste. 201, Lemoyne PA 17043

Court Administration

 

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LEBANON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

 

CIVIL ACTION – LAW

 

REBECCA ESPINOSA, Individually         :

And as Administrator of the Estate of        :

Margaret Lutz, deceased,                             :           No. 2019-02130

Plaintiff                                                           :

:

  1. :

:

LUTHERCARE, ET AL                                         :

SPANG CREST, ET AL                              :

MUSADDIQ N. NAZEERI, M.D., ET AL :

Defendants                                                     :

 

 

APPEARANCES:

 

Justin Bernstein, Esq.                             FOR PLAINTIFFS                   

SCHUSTER                                     

                                                                                               

Karen Minehan, Esq.                                         FOR LUTHERCARE/SPANGCREST

MARSHALL DENNEHY                     (Not participating in argument)

 

Andrew Foulkrod, Esq.                          FOR Musaddiq N. NAZEERI, M.D.

CIPRIANI & WERNER                 

                                                                            

OPINION BY CHARLES, J. JULY 28, 2021

Can a witness demand to be masked during testimony?  If so, does the “right” to wear a mask extend even when the lawyers are willing to conduct questioning via video conference while the witness is alone in a camera-surveilled room?  We respond to these questions seriatim with “it is unlikely” and “absolutely not.”  Because of these conclusions, we will order that Dr. Musaddiq Nazeeri, (hereafter “NAZEERI”) provide unmasked videotaped testimony in the above-referenced case.

 

  1. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This is a medical professional negligence action that was filed by Plaintiff on December 5, 2019.  Named Defendants were NAZEERI and Luthercare/Spang Crest Nursing Facility (hereafter “SPANG CREST”).  According to the Complaint, NAZEERI was a physician working as an employee or independent contractor for SPANG CREST during 2018.

According to the Complaint, Margaret Lutz (hereafter “LUTZ”), was admitted to SPANG CREST on January 19, 2018 suffering from cellulitis, breathing difficulties and acute coughing.  The Complaint alleges that in early February, LUTZ developed a fever and stated that she did not feel well.  Medications were prescribed.  Very little improvement was noted.  Moreover, LUTZ’ blood sugar was found to be elevated.  X-rays were obtained on February 12, 2018.  The Complaint alleges that the x-rays, and all of the above information, was provided to NAZEERI.

According to Plaintiff, LUTZ’ condition continued to decline.  On February 14, 2018, LUTZ was transferred to the WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, where she was diagnosed with respiratory distress, pneumonia and sepsis.  LUTZ died at the Good Samaritan Hospital on March 1, 2018.

Plaintiff’s Complaint charges both SPANG CREST and NAZEERI with negligence.  According to the Complaint, the death of LUTZ was caused by the failure of NAZEERI and/or SPANG CREST to properly evaluate and treat LUTZ while she was in SPANG CREST’s facility.

The above-referenced matter is now proceeding through the discovery phase of litigation.  Approximately one year ago, Plaintiff served a Notice of Deposition on NAZEERI for August 25, 2020.  All parties agreed that NAZEERI should undertake a videotape deposition.  On August 25, 2020, the deposition began as scheduled with NAZEERI and his counsel participating from NAZEERI’s home.  NAZEERI’s counsel indicated that his client would not be removing his mask due to COVID-19 concerns.  Plaintiff objected and requested that NAZEERI participate without any facial covering.  An impasse developed.  Eventually, Plaintiff decided to adjourn the deposition and re-schedule.

Negotiations commenced regarding the process by which NAZEERI’s deposition should occur.  Ultimately, Plaintiff agreed that NAZEERI could participate in a videotape deposition where he would be located alone in a room.  NAZEERI continued to insist that his face be covered with a mask.  Therefore, even this accommodation was not satisfactory.

On October 5, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel NAZEERI to appear for a videotape deposition and testify without wearing a mask.  NAZEER opposes this motion.  Both parties have filed briefs.  For reasons that follow, we will grant Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel.

  1. DISCUSSION

In our system of justice, factfinders perform a special role; they have the difficult and weighty responsibility to determine truth.  And in performing this function, finders of fact do not always have unassailable corroborating evidence upon which to rely.  In fact, sometimes fact finders have little more than their visceral instinct as they determine credibility.  As fact finders undertake a quest for the truth, on of the important tools in thier toolbox is the demeanor of a witness. Pennsylvania’s Superior Court aptly described how this tool can be so powerful:

[The factfinder] possesses an advantage not granted to [appellate courts]. He sees the parties and their witnesses face to face and observes their appearance and demeanor as they testify. We are restricted to the cold type of the record from which temperament and personality have been subtracted. Yet the demeanor of witnesses is the very touchstone of credibility; in the absence of reactions produced by other applicable tests, the appearance and demeanor of witnesses are the litmus by which the presence of truth is revealed. They are trifles light as air, imponderables, but for all that they are luminous integrants which ineluctably enter into the calculation by which trustworthiness is appraised. The spontaneous gesture, the lifting of an eyebrow, the shrug of the shoulders, the intonation of the voice, the flash of the eye, the facial expression,-these are a few of the vital and influential indicia of credibility which the [factfinder] observes and by which he is guided. The mental and psychological impact of these inarticulate expressions experienced by a [factfinder] form the basis for a conclusion which . . . ‘will depend upon a judgment or intuition more subtle than can be objectively demonstrated.’ Frequently they speak more eloquently and possess greater significance than the verbal utterance which they accompany, yet they cannot be reproduced upon the record submitted to the reviewing court.

Smith v. Smith, 43 A.2d 371, 583­–84 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1945) (emphasis added) (citations omitted).

It is the duty of this Court to preserve assessment of demeanor as a tool to be used in determining credibility.  We will not shirk this duty absent compelling exigent circumstances.  NAZEERI argues that the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an emergency that affords him with the “right” to wear a mask whenever and wherever he chooses.  We disagree.

Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed business as usual in the courts.  Throughout the pandemic, this Court has employed robust COVID prevention measures in an effort to minimize the risk of infection to everyone involved in the process.  For example, we have positioned parties and jurors six (6) feet apart, we have required most trial participants to wear masks, we have erected plastic and Plexiglas shields at strategic locations in the courtroom and our Court Attendants have liberally used disinfectant.  Thus far, the protective measures we have used have been successful; no juror, lawyer or witness has complained that he/she contracted COVID because of participation in a trial.

As robust as our COVID precautions have been, from the outset of the pandemic we have never permitted a witness to wear a mask while testifying.  It has always been the belief of this Court that fact finders should be able to see witnesses as they testify.  Sometimes, facial expressions that accompany verbal testimony are of critical importance in assessing whether somebody is unsure, or perhaps even lying.  Therefore, we have required that witnesses provide testimony unmasked.[1]

The wearing of masks in judicial proceedings has triggered a rapidly evolving body of decisional precedent.  In Commonwealth v. Delmonico, 251 A.3d 829 (Pa. Super. 2021), our Superior Court declared that jurors can be required to wear masks.  In Nautica Entertainment v. Allied Debt, 2020 WL 10356124 (D.C.Wyo, 2020), the court approved a process that required witnesses to appear in person and without masks given required social distancing and disinfectant.  In U.S. v. Tagliaferro, 2021 WL 1225990 (S.D.N.Y. 2021), the Court stated:

“The witness at Tagliaferro’s trial will remain unmasked and completely visible to both him and the jury.  Accordingly, the jury will be able to adequately assess credibility, and the witness, in turn, will be impressed with the gravity of the proceedings at which they testify.”

In a case very close to the one at hand, a plaintiff wanted to conduct a videotape deposition of a doctor.  The doctor insisted on being masked.  The plaintiff wanted the doctor to wear a Plexiglas shield through which his face was visible.  The court described the issue before it as “novel” and triggered by a “once-in-a-century pandemic.”  Although the court did not employ lengthy legal analysis, it did grant the plaintiff’s request that the doctor be required to wear a transparent mask during the deposition.  See, Tucker v. Princeton Community Hospital Association, 2021 WL 864768 (S.D.W.Va. 2021).

All of the above cases emphasize the discretion that a trial judge possesses in determining how to manage court proceedings.  In Pennsylvania, as it relates to proceedings such as depositions, trial judges have broad discretion to manage the discovery and issue appropriate orders as necessary.  See, Pa.R.C.P 4001(a); Kuntz v. Firth, 264 A.2d 432, 433 (Pa. Super. 1970).

In this case, the Plaintiff has agreed to allow NAZEERI to testify while sitting in a room by himself.  The Plaintiff is willing to set up an unmanned camera in a small conference area.  The camera operator and both lawyers will be located outside of the room where NAZEERI will be testifying.  This process not only facilitates social distancing, it provides NAZEERI with complete social isolation.  We cannot perceive of any better COVID protection than the one offered by the Plaintiff.

In the opinion of this Court, NAZEERI’s request to remain masked given the opportunity for social isolation is unreasonable.  NAZEERI’s risk of contracting COVID-19 while sitting alone in a disinfected room is virtually nonexistent.  NAZEERI’s objection to this process borders on nonsensical.

It is not the intent of this Court to depreciate the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, nor do we advocate ignoring its existence.  However, when a process is available, facilitated by technology, that will reduce the risk of infection to an almost de minimus level, such a process should be preferred over one that obscures a witness’ facial expressions during testimony.  We will therefore direct that NAZEERI testify at a videotaped deposition while unmasked and in an isolated environment as proposed by the Plaintiff.  An Order to effectuate this decision will be entered today’s date.

 

[1] However, to afford witnesses with protection, we have positioned them behind Plexiglas shields.

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