In May 2011, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed a decision by the Trial Court in Rockland County compelling a defendant nursing home to disclose certain information regarding patients that were not parties in the lawsuit. Plaintiff-decedent had suffered pressure sores and a leg fracture, allegedly caused by the negligence of the facility. The plaintiff had requested information of other residents, including names and dates of admission purportedly in order to identify witnesses to the alleged neglect.
Because the plaintiff was not seeking medical information, and because the Court deemed the information necessary to the case, the Court ruled that the information was not protected under CPLR 4504(a). Additionally, the Appellate Court reasoned that due to the numerous services offered by nursing home facilities, information such as names, addresses, and room numbers could not reasonably be used to ascertain a resident’s particular affliction–information that would be protected under CPLR 4504(a).
Although plaintiff was initially seeking the information for each and every resident during the plaintiff-decedent’s stay at the home, the Court limited the disclosure to a two-month period, and to residents within the plaintiff-decedent’s particular unit.