The State of California Court of Appeal’s recent opinion in Grafilo v. Cohanshohet has been certified for publication (click Download PDF). Fenton Law Group attorneys Ben Fenton, Dennis Lee, and Alexandra de Rivera prevailed on behalf of a physician client against the Medical Board of California after the Board filed a petition for an order to obtain medical records of five of the physician’s patients. The physician objected but the lower court granted the order. Fenton Law Group appealed the lower court’s decision and successfully reversed the order in the Court of Appeal.
The opinion confirms that the Medical Board must demonstrate a compelling state interest before a court will order disclosure of patient records in accordance with an administrative subpoena. Following the California Supreme Court’s decision in Hill v. National Collegiate Athletic Assn. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1, it was unclear whether courts should apply the compelling interest standard or conduct a simple balancing test to determine whether to compel disclosure of patient records. This case establishes a privacy precedent.