Medical Records Questionnaires Overstepping Boundaries

Frequently, requests for medical documents are accompanied by a set of questions to be filled out by the custodian turning over the records. The questions are designed to help the party receiving the documents establish that the records are “business records” under the rules of evidence. Surprisingly, many of these requests for information are improper. If a questionnaire accompanies a federal subpoena duces tecum, there is no obligation for a non-party to answer the questions. According to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, testimony from a non-witness—which includes a custodian of medical record—can only be garnered by three mechanisms: 1) consent of the non-party, 2) a subpoena for a deposition pursuant to Rule 45, or 3)a subpoena for a deposition by  written questions pursuant to Rule 31.

Written by: Danielle L. Borel

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