Motion to Quash Subpoena for Therapist Records
Below is a motion for a protective order to prevent a malpractice victim treating mental health care providers from turning over her therapist treatment notes and other records. Sometimes, there is a tactical reason why defense lawyers do this. Often, it is just an opportunity to victimize the plaintiff a second time by uncovering her most private thoughts in an effort to embarrass and humiliate.
Will you win this kind of protective order/motion to quash? It really depends on the facts of the case and the motions judge.
You can find a motion to keep mental health records out of evidence via a motion in limine after the records have been produced here.IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF MARYLAND FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY
ACME MEDICAL GROUP, et al.
Civil Case No.:
___________________PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER
Plaintiff Jane Doe ("Plaintiff") files this Motion for Protective Order under Md. Rule 2-403 and seeks to quash subpoenas served on her former psychiatrist and psychologist.
- In January 2018 Plaintiff was sexually assaulted during a physical examination by a Acme Medical Group doctor, Defendant John Q. Doe, M.D. ("Dr. Doe"). Prior to his assault on Plaintiff, Dr. Doe already had a known history of sexually assaulting female patients.
- Plaintiff is now suing Dr. Doe and Acme Medical Group for medical malpractice, battery and other claims arising out of the sexual assault in January 2018.
- Even before she was assaulted by Dr. Doe in 2018, Plaintiff had preexisting mental health issues. Plaintiff had been receiving long-term care and treatment for her mental health problems at Random Lane Health Services ("Random Lane") in Baltimore.
- Defense counsel has now served subpoenas on 2 of Plaintiff's treating mental health doctors at Random Lane: Jack Helpful, M.D. and Janet Talker, LCSW-C (the "Random Lane Doctors"). The subpoenas seek to compel the Random Lane Doctors to appear for deposition and produce confidential medical records relating the intimate details of Plaintiff's psychiatric diagnosis, treatment and counseling. Copies of the subpoenas are attached as Exhibit 1.
- Defendants' subpoenas to the Random Lane Doctors seek information that is clearly protected by the patient-therapist privilege under Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 9-109. This important statutory privilege precludes discovery of records and communications relating to diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions.
- All of the testimony and medical records subpoenaed from the Random Lane Doctors relate directly to diagnosis and treatment of Plaintiff's unrelated mental health conditions.
- In addition to being privileged, Plaintiff's mental health treatment at Random Lane is also irrelevant to the claims in this case. Plaintiff's treatment at Random Lane involved preexisting problems dating back to her childhood that had nothing to do with Dr. Doe.
- Plaintiff's preexisting mental condition and her treatment by the Random Lane Doctors is not an element of her tort claims against Defendants in this case. Plaintiff can obviously prove that she was injured by Defendant's sexual assault without exposing the sensitive details of her prior mental health treatment.
- Allowing Defendants to depose and obtain treatment records from the Random Lane Doctors would effectively allow Dr. Doe to humiliate and victimize Plaintiff a second time. Dr. Doe is apparently seeking to defend his malicious sexual assault by claiming that Plaintiff was already mentally fragile when he assaulted her. This is not an acceptable or appropriate defense.
- Defendants' efforts to delve into the details of Plaintiff's prior psychiatric treatment is exactly what the statutory patient-therapist privilege is designed to protect.
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons Plaintiff requests that the Court enter a Protective Order quashing the subpoenas served on the Random Lane Doctors and precluding any further discovery requests regarding Plaintiff's prior mental health treatment.
MILLER & ZOIS, L.L.C.