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This question relates to a personal injury case.

Malibu, CA |

I currently am in the Discover stage of a PI case and my attorney is very new. The great injuries I sustained in this current case are completely unrelated to a PI case I had approximately 12 years ago and the defense is trying to subpoena the old file from 12 years ago even though it has nothing to do with my current injuries and deals in a very private type of injury. MY old attorneys have blocked the subpoena but the defense intends to a request the old file from the old defense attorneys and I believe they will turn the file over because they really have no incentive to not release it. Are there any motions to stop the old defense attorneys from releasing the old file i.e. invasion of privacy, attorney/client privilege, too old, etc. Or at least is it possible to keep confident the really unrelated sensitively confidential information. There has to be some kind of motion to take preventing this unrelated invasion of privacy. Thanks for any suggestions.

Attorney Answers 15


  1. Best answer

    Yes. Your attorney can serve objections, then file a motion to quash the subpoena(s) and/or motion for protective order. However, it all depends on what they're asking for in their subpoenas. If they're asking for attorney-client privileged material, then you have a chance at winning. If they're asking for public records (such as the complaint filed, the answer received, etc.), then you will likely lose. If they're asking for medical records from your prior injury, then it becomes a bit more gray area. They are entitled to medical records -- even from 12 years ago -- but only if it had to do with the same body part(s) affected by this incident. That's true even if the prior injuries healed. But if the records requested have nothing to do with the body parts injured in the current case, then medical privacy and physician-patient privilege prevail. (For example, if you are claiming neck injuries in an auto case now, they can't get your gynecological records from 12 years ago, or even 1 year ago, or ever.) There is a case on point: Britt v. Superior Court. Ask your attorney to read that case and take the appropriate action. Good luck.

    This response is based on limited information. It is not meant as and does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. This is something you need to discuss with your lawyer.

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  3. Please contact your attorney and discuss the details.


  4. Well, in New York where I practice your attorney could move to quash the subpoena. I suspect California has a similar procedure and if the injuries are truly unrelated, then the old file is irrelevant. You are also assuming that your former counsel still has your file. While I do not know how long attorneys need to keep a file in California, in New York we are only required a keep a file for 7 years. I suspect the old file may have been destroyed by now. You may have to disclose something if the file still exists, like the documents showing what injuries were claimed to defeat the subpoena, but the defense attorneys should not be able to get into all of your old medical records.


  5. I agree with the other responses that this is something you need to discuss with your attorney. He or she is in the best position to access what arguments can be made regarding the relevance of the old injury to the new one, any privacy issues, etc. I don't think you are going to be able to get attorneys on this forum to second guess him or her, since we don't have access to all of the information, files etc. Best of luck to you...

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  6. yes. Your atty can file a motion to quash the sdt on grounds of privacy etc. if your new atty cant handle this case properly, he needs to refer it out or associate in an experienced atty.


  7. Yes, your attorney needs to know what to do, or get nother one quickly.


  8. You should discuss this matter with your current attorney. There are options available. They could seek to limit the subpoena only to those injuries that are at issue in your current case. They could seek a protective order. They could enter into a stipulation re confidentiality so that the records are not used in any other proceeding. There are a lot of options available.


  9. There are protective measures that your attorney can take on your behalf, including objecting to the release of records if that is legally desirable. You absolutely should discuss this with your own attorney. You should not be soliciting opinions on this site which cannot be considered legal advice and cannot be based on a totality of the facts of your individual case as is your attorney's representation.

    Debra K. Butler is licensed to practice law in the State of California and is admitted to the federal courts located in California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Any opinion given cannot be construed as legal advice and participation in community questions is recommended by AVVO for higher ratings and thus, may be considered advertising.


  10. I would think that they would have a procedure in CA whereby the judge can review the contents of the file that the other attorneys want privately and determine as a matter of law that they have no relevance to the present case.

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  11. You will probably not be able to prevent the discovery of the information by the current defense lawyers, but the defense lawyers will probably agree to what is known as a protective order. This is an order by the court to release those records to no one outside of the litigation and to destroy them at its conclusion.


  12. Your post indicate s you have a attorney, you need to ask him, her


  13. It's usually called a motion to quash. You may want a more experienced lawyer.


  14. It all depends upon the type of injury in the prior case. The scope of discoverable information in a personal injury case is very broad - but not unlimited. You should talk with your lawyer about the old case and see if there is a basis to fight the discovery. If the old case related to mental heath issues that are entirely unrelated to the current matter, you MAY be able to stop it based on privacy. BUT, if the old case potentially relates to the same types of injuries as the current case, it will be difficult. Good luck.


  15. Your conclusory insistence if irrelevancy is unfounded. I presume that the injuries of 12 years are relevant until I see otherwise. I do, however, take offense at subpenaing your legal file to get medical information which should be obtainable without having to rifle through your legal file. If you need to go outside your lawyer, you need to get another lawyer, just as if a spouse were in issue.

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