Wallace v. Best Buy Stores L.P.
A plaintiff who alleges she suffered personal injuries may be required to disclose all of her medical records, as opposed to just the medical records that are related to the parts of the body that were injured in the subject accident. In June 2009, the plaintiff, Tammy Wallace, allegedly slipped and fell at the premises of the defendant, Best Buy. Wallace sued, alleging she injured her back, neck, knee, elbow and wrist and required knee surgery. Previously, the plaintiff had injured her back. The defendant requested all of the plaintiff's medical records. The plaintiff produced certain of the records and requested a protective order, to restrict disclosure of the records of her primary doctor to information about her back, neck, knee, elbow and wrist. The plaintiff objected that disclosure of any other medical records would violate her right to privacy. The defendant argued that the plaintiff placed her medical condition in issue and that all of the records from the plaintiff's primary physician are pertinent. "Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party," pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1). Upon a showing of good cause, a court may enter an order "to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense," pursuant to F.R.C.P. 26(c)(1). Here, the plaintiff failed to meet the burden to establish good cause for a protective order. In response to a complaint in which the plaintiff alleges significant damages from personal injuries, the defendant is entitled to the plaintiff's medical information. The court ordered the plaintiff to authorize her medical provider to disclose the plaintiff's medical records to the defendant.