July 26, 2010
Recently Michigan Lawyers Weekly interviewed Genie about a Michigan Supreme Court Case involving HIPPA. Genie’s work on medical malpractice litigation makes her a knowledgeable resource when difficult legal issues arise. On July 13, 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court case Holman v Rasak interpreted HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), the federal law that ensures patient medical privacy. The Court, in a divided decision, said that this law does not bar defense lawyers from speaking with treating doctor witnesses without allowing the plaintiff and his counsel present, with some limitations. As Genie was quoted in the article, the problem for plaintiff’s attorneys and her clients is that many times the defense attorney not only asks the doctor about the facts of the case, but uses a private, closed door session to get that treater to agree with their defense theories in the case-especially in medical malpractice litigation. The fair way to handle it is in a deposition, where everyone is on the record. This is a tough issue that different state supreme courts have reached opposite conclusions upon, and likely to continue to be unsettled until the United States Supreme Court rules. The Holman case may become that test case.