[ Friday, May 21, 2004 ]


Deep Sea Fishing with Plaintiff's Counsel. All lawyers in Texas know Federal District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer for his "et cetera" column at the end of each edition of the Texas Bar Journal, where he notes funny typos and misstatements in depositions and trial transcripts. But occasionally he does things himself that make him particularly unpopular, like requiring the Dallas Housing Authority to put public housing in wealthier neighborhoods. Now, it looks like he might have gone off the reservation is the HIPAA neighborhood.

Some Texas hospitals are apparently starting to receive copies of a court order, seeking that they produce PHI on "each of the recipients of E-Ferol, all of whom were premature infants less than five months old" when they received the drug. The Dent Law Firm, Fort Worth, has been faxing a notice seeking the PHI to hospital administrators and healthcare professionals, along with a copy of the court order. The court order is dated May 11, 2004, is signed by Judge Buchmeyer, and is directed to "each medical provider, including hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, and distributors, who, in any way, provided or were aware of the identity of those who were provided E-Ferol" between Nov. 1, 1983 and April 14, 1984 inclusive. The underlying class action is styled Victoria Klein and Ashley Swadley v. O'Neal, Inc. d/b/a O'Neal, Jones & Feldman Pharmaceuticals, CVS Revco D.S., Inc., and Retrac, Inc., c/a no. 7:03-CV-102-R.

Let me know if you've received such a notice and court order. I just heard about this today and don't know how pervasive this is. I suspect the Texas Hospital Association will try to limit this court order; if you've received it, you should ask your legal counsel for a recommendation before responding. I think you'd want a protective order or some other indication from the court (i.e., Judge Buchmeyer) that he really knows the can of worms he's opening up.

Jeff [5:24 PM]

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