Published December, 2012

Budano v. Gurdon, 97 A.D.3d 497, 948 N.Y.S.2d 612 (2012)

This is a New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division case affirming the lower court's decision to deny the request of the plaintiff's medical records, including substance abuse, mental health, and HIV-related medical information in a routine slip-and-fall civil case. The court also granted the plaintiff's request for a protective order preventing the release of his medical records.

The court stated that the defendant, the owner of the facility where the fall occurred, had failed to prove that the plaintiff's mental and physical conditions were in controversy. Notably, it stated that even if the defendant had established that the plaintiff suffered from substance abuse and mental illness and had HIV, the discovery would not be warranted because the defendant had failed to establish any credible links between these conditions and the slip-and-fall in question.

This decision highlights that at least some courts continue to properly treat HIV-related medical information with a high-level of seriousness and are loathe to release such confidential information unless it is directly relevant to the case at hand.