United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
November 10, 2005.
ROCHELLE A. GLEN, Plaintiff,
JOHN E. POTTER, Postmaster General of the United States, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN DARRAH, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Rochelle Glen, filed suit against Defendant, John E.
Potter as Postmaster General, for conduct arising during Glen's
employment with the United States Postal Service. Count I alleges
sexual harassment, Count II alleges disability discrimination,
and Count III alleges retaliation. Presently before the Court is
Defendant's Motion to Compel Production of Plaintiff's Medical
Plaintiff was an employee of the United States Postal Service
from 1997 until 2000. In 1998, the Plaintiff was assigned to
Ravenswood Post Office where Gayle Campbell became the station
manager. Plaintiff alleges that Campbell engaged in a pattern of
sexual harassment directed toward her until she was reassigned to
Plaintiff complained to postal service officials, including Mr.
Brooker, about the harassment. As a result of her complaints, she
was subject to retaliation that continued through her tenure with
the Post Office. The alleged harassment also caused Plaintiff to
develop a stress-related disability. Plaintiff put the Postal Service on notice of the disability,
by filing a request for worker's compensation, which was denied.
The Postal Service was aware of her disability and failed to
offer her any reasonable accommodations. Plaintiff filed
complaints against the Postal Service, alleging sexual
harassment, discrimination on the basis of age and disability,
and retaliation. Subsequent to her complaints, her employment was
terminated in 2000.
Defendant moves to compel the Plaintiff to authorize the
release of her medical records on the grounds that they are a
necessary and central component of discovery. The Defendant
denies that the Plaintiff is disabled within the meaning of the
Rehabilitation Act and denies that any stress-related condition
is linked to the Defendant's conduct. Defendant contends that to
properly defend the alleged harassment claim, access to the
plaintiff's records are necessary to determine: (1) if the claim
is true, (2) what other medical problems may have caused or
contributed to the alleged condition, and (3) the extent of the
Defendant argues that the Plaintiff has waived any claim of
privilege or privacy protection by putting the medical condition
at issue. "ADA plaintiffs, like all plaintiffs in an action for
medical malpractice, waive all privileges and privacy interests
related to their claim by virtue of filing the complaint."
Patterson v. Chicago Assoc. for Retarded Children, 1997 WL
323575 (N.D. Ill. 1997). "A plaintiff cannot inject his or her
psychological treatment, conditions, or symptoms into a case and
expect to be able to prevent discovery of information relevant to
those claims." Santelli v. Electro-Motive, 188 F.R.D. 306, 309
(N.D. Ill. 1999); see also Sarko v. Penn-Del Directory Company,
170 F.R.D. 127 (E.D. Penn. 1997) (plaintiff waived privilege by
claiming she was disabled under ADA for clinical depression). Plaintiff argues that the discovery request for all medical
records is overly invasive to her privacy and contrary to the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA").
However, the HIPAA does not create a federal physician-patient
privilege. The HIPAA regulations create a purely procedural
method for obtaining health information. See Northwestern
Memorial Hospital v. Ashcroft, 362 F.3d 923, 925-926 (7th Cir.
In this instance, all her medical records are relevant to
defending the Plaintiff's claim, and the Defendant is entitled to
the production of the Plaintiff's medical records.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendant's motion to compel is
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