United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
January 21, 2004.
DAVID LAKIN, Plaintiff,
GARY SKALETSKY, M.D.; LIBERTY MUTUAL Judge John W. Darrah INSURANCE COMPANY; and GLOBEGROUND NORTH AMERICA, LLC, Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, David Lakin ("Lakin"), filed a multi-count Complaint
against the Defendants. Count I alleges failure to maintain medical
confidentiality against Dr. Gary Skaletsky ("Dr. Skaletsky"). Count II
alleges failure to maintain medical confidentiality against Liberty
Mutual Insurance Company ("Liberty"). Count III alleges wrongful
discharge against Globeground North America ("Globeground"). Count IV
alleges a civil conspiracy between Dr. Skaletsky, Liberty, and
Globeground. Count V alleges a breach of bailment against Globeground.
Count VI alleges a violation of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act ("COBRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1161, et seq.
against Globeground. Count VII alleges a claim for accrued vacation pay
against Globeground. On September 4, 2003, Count I was dismissed with
prejudice, and Count VI was dismissed without prejudice.
Subsequently, Liberty filed a Motion to Dismiss Count II. After the
Motion to Dismiss was fully briefed, the Court informed the parties that
the Motion to Dismiss would be treated as a Motion
for Summary Judgment. The Court allowed the parties additional time
to file additional responses and said responses were filed.*fn1
Summary judgment is proper if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if
any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact." Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). All the evidence and the reasonable
inferences that may be drawn from the evidence are viewed in the light
most favorable to the nonmovant. Miller v. American Family Mut. Ins, Co.,
203 F.3d 997, 1003 (7th Cir. 2000). Summary judgment may be granted when no
"reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Count II of Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that Liberty violated
Plaintiffs right to medical confidentiality by receiving and transmitting
a report from Dr. Skaletsky. Liberty seeks summary judgment as to Count
n, contending that Plaintiff cannot maintain a cause of action for
violation of medical confidentiality because the Illinois Workers'
Compensation Act ("WCA") expressly provides employers and insurers to
obtain medical records. Plaintiff contends that summary judgment must be
denied because Liberty did not request Dr. Skaletsky's last report as
required by the WCA.
Section 8(a) of the WCA provides, in part:
Every hospital, physician . . . rendering
treatment or services in accordance with the
provisions of this Section shall upon written
request furnish and complete reports thereof to,
and permit their records to be copied by, the
employer, the employee or his independents, as the
case may be, or any other party to any proceeding
for compensation before the Commission, or their
820 ILCS 305/8(a). Accordingly, employers and workers' compensation
insurers have a right to the medical records of an individual seeking a
claim under the WCA. See Mercer v. Carle Foundation Hosp.,
261 Ill. App.3d 245, 246 (1994); People v. Mileris,
103 Ill. App.3d 589, 592 (1981) (Mileris).
Here, Liberty was the worker's compensation carrier for Plaintiff's
employer and funded all of Plaintiff's medical treatment. Liberty
initiated Plaintiff's contact with Dr. Skaletsky, arranging for an
independent medical examination. At that time, Liberty requested Dr.
Skaletsky to provide information on several specific areas surrounding
Plaintiffs medical condition, including a prognosis, conclusions
regarding the need for further treatment and/or work restrictions, and
whether maximum medical improvement had been achieved.
Dr. Skaletsky examined Plaintiff on two occasions and forwarded a
report of his findings to Liberty after each of the examinations. In his
last report, Dr. Skaletsky indicated that Plaintiff was released to
return to work without restrictions. This report addressed specific
questions that Liberty propounded to Dr. Skaletsky in its initial
correspondence to Dr. Skaletsky in which it sought information about
further treatment of Plaintiff, work restrictions, and if and when
Plaintiff reached maximum medical improvement. The Liberty employee
involved in Plaintiff's workers' compensation claim avers that the
initial correspondence to Dr. Skaletsky was a continuing request
for reports on Plaintiff's condition and prognosis. Furthermore,
Plaintiff specifically pleads in his Complaint (and thereby admits) that
Dr. Skaletsky, "at the request of Liberty Mutual," conveyed the last
report to Liberty.
Pursuant to the WCA, Liberty had a right to Plaintiff's medical records
and the report that he was able to return to work. See Mileris,
103 Ill. App.3d at 592 ("section 8 of the Workers' Compensation Act
guarantees that none of the [medical records] could remain
confidential"). Furthermore, the undisputed facts show that Liberty
requested such documentation from Dr. Skaletsky. Accordingly, Liberty's
Motion for Summary Judgment as to Count II is granted.
For the reasons stated above, Liberty's Motion for Summary Judgment as
to Count n is granted.