The Third Department determined the extent of allowable discovery re: non-parties in a lead-paint-injury case. The defense sought medical and academic records of plaintiff’s mother and siblings, all non-parties, and sought to compel the mother to undergo an IQ test. The Third Department held that the non-party medical records were not discoverable (except for the mother’s records during pregnancy), the non-party academic records should be submitted to the court for in camera review, and the mother should not be compelled to undergo an IQ test:
A subdivision of the main disclosure statute provides that “[u]pon objection by a person entitled to assert the privilege, privileged matter shall not be obtainable” (CPLR 3101 [b]). Medical records are protected by a doctor-patient privilege and cannot be disclosed without consent or a waiver of the privilege (see CPLR 4504 [a]…). A plaintiff waives the privilege by commencing an action that places his or her mental or physical condition at issue, but nonparties are not subject to having their medical histories made public merely because a relative commences an action … . As plaintiff’s mother and siblings did not consent and have not waived that privilege, Supreme Court should not have ordered disclosure of their medical records … . An exception exists for the mother’s medical records during the time of her pregnancy with and birth of plaintiff, but plaintiff has already provided an authorization for those records … .
Regarding the mother’s and siblings’ academic records, defendants have submitted an expert affidavit, as noted above, indicating that those records are relevant and necessary to determine whether other factors caused plaintiff’s injuries … . Considering that these records are private but not privileged, Supreme Court reasonably balanced defendants’ need for them and their possible relevance against the burden to these nonparties from disclosure, requiring that the siblings’ records be produced to the court for an in camera review … . The mother’s academic records should similarly be submitted to the court for review and redaction of any privileged material. …
Defendants’ need for her IQ test results, however, are not outweighed by the burden on her to undergo such a test, as well as the potential for extending this litigation by focusing on information extraneous to plaintiff’s condition, such as all of the factors contributing to the mother’s IQ … . Considering the private and personal nature of the information sought and the potential delay due to myriad collateral issues, defendants should not be able to compel plaintiff’s mother, a nonparty, to undergo an IQ test … . Perez v Fleischer, 2014 NY Slip Op 008101, 3rd Dept 11-20-14