AT&T’s attack on the December 7, 2007 protective order is not unlike Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, sixty six years ago, both were unwarranted and doomed to fail.
So reads a footnote from a December 20, 2007 Order from the United States District Court of Connecticut denying AT&T Service’s request for a reversal of a protective order in a wrongful discharge case. It’s the type of footnote that makes the reader sit up straight and take notice.
The decision, by Judge Dominic Squatrito in Rebaudo v. AT&T Services et al. (available here), only marginally addresses the employment law issues in the case (which AT&T has already moved for judgment on) so it doesn’t warrant full coverage here.
However, the issue before the court is one that does come up in other employment law cases — namely, whether a Plaintiff-Employee, who signed medical authorizations for the Defendant-Employer to view his medical records, is entitled to a copy of such records before his deposition. The court, in an earlier decision, said "yes", a plaintiff is entitled to such a copy and had ordered AT&T to produce a copy of such records one week before the plaintiff’s deposition. AT&T sought reconsideration of that motion.
The court discusses the issue of medical records further:
AT&T’s position is that [the medical records] constitute confidential, attorney-work product information of AT&T and therefore, the Plaintiff is not entitled to discover it. The court disagrees. Merely because AT&T obtained the medical records through a signed authorization of the Plaintiff does not mean that this information is now confidential. First, as AT&T notes in its memorandum, this medical information is the Plaintiff’s information. Thus, it would be paradoxical to find that the Plaintiff’s medical information is the privileged work of AT&T. Second, the Plaintiff’s request for documents concerning the incidents of the lawsuit clearly encompasses these medical records. Third, given the large quantity of medical records that the Plaintiff has amassed, justice requires that the court allow the Plaintiff and his counsel to prepare themselves thoroughly, prior to the
The Court adds the above footnote for good measure. Though after reading the footnote, you don’t need to read much else of the case. The rest, as they say, is "history".