Attorney Jennifer M. Norris recently obtained two critical victories protecting our clients’ privacy when the opposing parties sought to compel the production of personal and confidential medical and psychological records.
On September 6, 2013, the Middlesex Superior Court denied the defendant’s motion to compel the plaintiff in a personal injury case involving dog bites to produce her confidential medical and psychological records. After a winning oral argument by Attorney Norris, the Court found that given the specific nature of our client’s injuries, her prior medical records were not relevant or reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Further, as to psychological records, the Court held that it was not more important to the interests of justice that such communications be disclosed than that the relationship, if any, between the Plaintiff and her psychotherapist be protected.
Similarly, Attorney Norris successfully prevented a former employer from obtaining private and confidential medical and psychological information from a client who suffered sexual harassment by her former employer. On September 19, 2013, a Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) Hearing Officer held that our client’s medical and psychological records are protected from disclosure by doctor-patient confidentiality and the patient-psychotherapist privilege, and that our client had not waived the privilege by making a claim for emotional distress. In her decision, the Hearing Officer noted that “Complainant has cited ample precedent that convinces me that given the circumstances of this case, the records are protected from disclosure, and that the interests of privacy in relationships with medical and mental health providers outweigh the interests cited by Respondent, including the value of the evidence sought to be adduced.”