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Administrative Proceedings — Subpoenas — Claim of Privilege

David Fett, MD v. Medical Board of California (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 211.
This is an administrative subpoena case that may affect attorney discipline investigations and whether a claim of privilege can be asserted.
The Medical Board investigated Dr. Fett for insurance billing fraud. The Board issued 3 subpoenas to Dr. Fett for complete patient files for 3 patients whose partial files Dr. Fett provided to the complaining insurance company.
Dr. Fett filed petitioned for orders quashing the subpoenas because his patients objected to the production of their medical records. Held: Motion to Quash denied. The patients’ rights to privacy in this regard are trumped by “good cause” establishing a nexus between the goals of the investigation and the records sought.
Currently, an attorney may resist a State Bar subpoena for her client’s file on privilege and confidentiality grounds if the client did not make the complaint.