Generally speaking, an individual has a right to privacy in their medical records and treatment. However, when a plaintiff seeks compensation for an alleged injury, he waives that right and must provide his medical records to his adversary. This rule was highlighted in the recent case of Corbey v. Allam decided by New York’s Appellate Division Second Department.
In Corbey, the defendants appealed an order that denied their motion to compel production of the plaintiff’s medical records. The Appellate Division held that when a party affirmatively places a physical or mental condition in issue, that party waives the physician-patient privilege to those records. A party can avoid the disclosure of such records only by abandoning that facet of their claim. However, if such claims are not “unequivocally abandoned”, the condition remains in issue and defendants are entitled to the disclosure of the relevant records.
Thanks to Michael Monteith for his contribution to this post.