Court overturns restrictions imposed on insurance attorneys' right to talk privately to victim's treaters
Daivd Szpak and his wife sued Dr. Joy Inyang and Dr. Michael Falzon for malpractice in their treatment of the Szpaks' minor daughter Alexa. The Defendants' attorneys demanded the right to interview Alexa's treating physicians, ex parte [meaning privately and without notice to the Szpak family]. The Szpak family asked the judge sitting on the Oakland County case to require that the insurance attorneys advise the family when they intended to interview the treating doctors and that their own attorneys be allowed to attend the meeting(s). The judge agreed and entered a protective order with these additional requirements.The insurance attorneys were so insistent upon meeting privately with the treaters that they appealed the lower court ruling and secured a decision in the Court of Appeals that they need not provide notice or allow the victim's attorneys to attend. The appellate court noted that nothing in the HIPAA prohibits ex parte meetings and that Michigan law formerly allowed such meetings. The other restrictions necessary to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 42 USC 1320d, et seq., could be incorporated into an order governing ex parte meetings, but notice to the patient/victim and an opportunity to atttend were not required.