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Name: Karen P. v. Superior Court (Los Angeles County)
Case #: B236076
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 11/09/2011
Summary

Minor who is subject of a dependency petition does not waive physician-patient privilge by submitting to medical exam prior to filing of petition. In a dependency proceeding involving sexual abuse of a minor by the father, the father subpoenaed medical records involving the child’s sexual history. The child filed a motion to quash the subpoena as privileged under Evidence Code section 994. The superior court denied the motion to quash based on a finding that the child’s medical condition was “being put at issue” within the meaning of section 996. The minor sought writ review. The appellate court here granted a writ of mandate. The child did not tender her medical condition in the litigation by disclosing the abuse and submitting to a forensic medical exam. The patient-litigant exception was not triggered by her disclosures, and the physician-patient privilege had not been waived. Further, when DCFS filed a petition, it was not doing so as a representative of the child. The child was a party in her own right and her interests were separately represented by counsel. Therefore, the filing of the petition did not extinguish the child’s physician-patient privilege.