Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Court Rules That PennDOT May Not Release Medical Records Relied Upon By PennDOT to Decide Whether to Authorize an Indiviual to Be Licensed to Drive

In the case of Puricelli v. Com., Dept. of Transp., No. 42 M.D. 2022 (Pa. Cmwlth. Jan. 4, 2023) (Op. by Wallace, J.), the Commonwealth Court sustained Preliminary Objections filed by PennDOT in opposition to a matter involving a request by a Plaintiff injured in a motor vehicle accident case for the release of medical records PennDOT had obtained as part of the decision-making process of determining whether or not the Defendant driver should be authorized to be licensed in Pennsylvania to operate a motor vehicle.

According to the Opinion, the Defendant driver had secured an injury to his eye and the Plaintiff was attempting to determine if PennDOT had authorized the Defendant driver to be operating his vehicle at the time of the accident.

The court noted that, by statute, information received by the Department of Transportation for purposes of determining the competency of automobile drivers “shall be confidential and shall be used solely for the purpose of determining the qualifications of any person to drive a motor vehicle.” The statute additionally sets forth that such information cannot be “used as evidence in any civil or criminal trial.”

As such, the Commonwealth court ruled that the Plaintiff’s automobile accident victim was not permitted to obtain the medical records from PennDOT even though the Defendant driver had consented to the production of that information. The court noted that consent is not an exception to statutory mandates of confidentiality.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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