Emily Ager (plaintiff) was born at the Stormont Hospital (defendant). While Ager was being born, her mother’s uterine wall ruptured, causing a loss of blood that resulted in Ager suffering fetal asphyxia. As a result, Ager is a quadriplegic and suffers from severe developmental disabilities. Ager, through her attorney Lynn R. Johnson, sued the hospital. During the course of litigation, the hospital served interrogatories seeking to learn the identities and opinions rendered by experts who were informally consulted and not retained as well as those who were retained but not designated to testify. Johnson refused to turn over this information even after the federal magistrate judge issued an order to compel. Johnson eventually appealed to the district court judge who ordered Johnson to comply with the interrogatories. When Johnson did not, the district court judge issued a civil contempt order. Johnson appealed the order to the court of appeals.