Waiving of Privacy Rights and Overly Broad Questions

Alfonso Cruz, Applicant v. Sierra Circuits, Inc., Hartford, Defendants (BPD) (2014 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 491):

The WCJ’s found that the applicant was required to answer deposition questions regarding his medical insurance coverage and the identity of his personal family doctor, as such questions were proper under Code of Civil Procedure § 2017.010. The WCJ stated that because the questions were not protected by privilege, and additionally the information obtained from questioning could reasonably lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, the questions were proper.


The WCAB, granting applicant’s petition for removal and in split-panel opinion reversed the WCJ.


The WCJ, majority panel held that questions regarding payment for medical treatment that the applicant had received in his lifetime and regarding overnight hospitalizations violated physician-patient privilege in Evidence Code § 990 et seq.


Although applicant waived physician-patient privilege as to injured body parts (left arm, left shoulder and neck) by placing them in-issue, questions were overly broad in that applicant did not waive privacy rights with respect to any other medical conditions, and that to avoid impinging on privileged information, as required under the case of Allison v. W.C.A.B. (1999) 72 Cal. App. 4th 654, 84 Cal. Rptr. 2d 915, 64 Cal. Comp. Cases 624 (applying doctor-patient privilege to

Worker’s compensation cases).


The WCAB stated that questions must be framed more narrowly

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