Courts will likely hold requests for medical records to the same strict requirements as requests for medical examinations under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 35, which requires a party’s mental or physical condition to be “in controversy.”
In Prado v. Equifax Info. Servs. LLC, No. 18-cv-02405-PJH (LB) (N.D. Cal. Jan. 3, 2019), Prado sued Equifax, requesting damages for “garden variety” distress. Prado had to manage a frustrating credit mix-up when Equifax allegedly mistook her sister’s credit file for her own and reported “serious delinquencies” to Prado’s credit-card companies. Not only were Prado’s credit limits significantly lowered, but her requests to reinstate the original credit limits were denied. When Equifax allegedly ignored Prado’s requests for it to correct the mistake, Prado claimed Equifax violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the California Credit Reporting Agencies Act, and the California Civil Code.
In response to Prado’s claim for distress damages, Equifax requested “all documents relating or referring to any medical or mental treatments [Ms. Prado] received in the past seven years.” Prado refused the request, arguing against the invasive nature of the request in comparison to her “garden variety” distress claim. The parties took their dispute to the court when they could not reach a resolution.