Sunday, September 27, 2009

Privacy Interest Doesn't Trump Disclosure of Medical Records

In Manela v. Superior Court (here), the Court of Appeal has held that the State's interest in protecting the children of divorcing parents trumps the privacy interest of a father in his own, non-privileged medical records. In this divorce proceeding, the wife contended that the husband suffered from seizures that limited his ability to have custody of their child. She sought her ex's medical records from two doctors. The court granted discovery as to one doctor, because the husband had been examined by the doctor in the wife's presence, and had therefore waived the doctor-patient privilege, but denied discovery as to the other doctor. Then the Court held that although the husband had a protectible privacy interest in the medical records that were no longer privileged, that interest was outweighed by the state's interest in protecting the child in determining custody

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