Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Lawyer Disqualified for Reading Privileged Documents | New Jersey Law Journal

Lawyer Disqualified for Reading Privileged Documents | New Jersey Law Journal
by Michael Booth //NJLJ
"A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that an attorney representing a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must be disqualified because he read confidential in-house investigatory documents prepared by the defendant hospital. A two-judge Appellate Division panel ruled April 8 in Jablow v. Wagner that it did not matter that the attorney, Brian Levine, received the documents without asking for them from an anonymous source or that he did not believe that the documents were to be deemed absolutely privileged under the New Jersey Patient Safety Act.

 "We conclude that the record fully supports the [trial judge's] determination that … Levine must be precluded from continuing to serve as counsel for plaintiff," wrote Appellate Division Judges Joseph Yannotti and Douglas Fasciale in Jablow v. Wagner. "Plaintiff's attorney received documents that he knew or should have known were privileged," the judges said. "Counsel could not reasonably assume that the privilege was inapplicable."

Levine, who runs a firm in Somerville, represented David Jablow, the husband of Anne Jablow, who underwent an out-patient procedure at Somerville Medical Center on March 26, 2013, according to the appeals court's opinion. Dr. Wendy Wagner, an obstetrician and gynecologist, performed the procedure, which the opinion did not describe and Levine declined to elaborate on. Complications arose and Anne Jablow was readmitted to the hospital, the opinion said. She died on March 29, 2013, and Levine filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death complaint against Wagner; Lifetime OB/GYN, her practice group, and the hospital on Sept. 5, 2013."

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1 comment:

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