Feb 212010
 
 February 21, 2010  Court

Joe Jackson has taken one step forward in his quest to file a wrongful death suit following the passing of his superstar son last June.

In papers obtained by RadarOnline.com the Superior Court of California ruled on Friday that Joe be allowed access to Michael Jackson’s medical records, something that the singer’s Estate had fought against, citing physician-patient privilege.

Read more on RadarOnline.com. The court’s ruling can be found here.

The Estate’s opposition to Joe Jackson’s request for records was not only based on physician-patient privilege, but also on the grounds of privacy and relevance. The court quickly dismissed the privacy claim, holding, as had previous courts, that the right to privacy can only be asserted by the individual whose privacy has allegedly been invaded, and the right to privacy does not extend past death — unlike patient-physician confidentiality, which does extend past death.

So how could Joe Jackson get around doctor-patient confidentiality? His attorneys argued that since Michael was dead on arrival at the hospital, there was no communication and hence, no privilege attaches.

The whole case arises because Joe Jackson claims he was financially dependent on Michael Jackson and wants to sue UCLA for wrongful death so that he can get more money than he is not now getting from the estate as an allowance.

I wonder what would happen if a non-blood relative initiated a similar action. Could courts wind up ordering the release of hospital records to whomever can make a case that they want to sue a physician over a non-relative’s treatment because the deceased had provided them some financial support that they no longer get from the estate because the deceased did not leave them anything in his will?

Cross-posted from PHIprivacy.net

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