In a recent car accident case, a Massachusetts federal judge held that the defendant was not entitled to obtain copies of the plaintiff’s mental health records. In Conklin v. Feitelberg, a woman suffered severe injuries as the result of a car crash that occurred in June 2011 involving the defendant. In her complaint, the plaintiff brought claims for negligence, seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, permanent injuries, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
During discovery, the defense informed the plaintiff that it intended to seek copies of medical records from the five physicians from whom the plaintiff had sought mental health treatment. The subpoena that the defendant prepared requested records for the period of one year before the accident through to the present day. In response, the plaintiff filed a motion seeking a protective order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c), claiming that the mental health records were privileged. The defendant also filed a motion to compel production of the mental health records.