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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 38264
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I represent a doctor who has been locked out of an office building

Customer Question

I represent a doctor who has been locked out of an office building that he was occupying as a sub tenant.
The landlord wont release his patients medical records, xrays, prescription drups etc relying on a Texas statutory landlord's lien.
Can we use HIPPA to force the landlord to release the records since state law may allow the landlord to hold on to the records
Lee Stevenson ***@******.*** (###) ###-####
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I have run a search in WestlawNext, and I find only unpublished cases discussing the use of HIPAA as a sword, rather than as a shield. Regardless, each of the cases finds that HIPAA cannot be used for the sort of affirmative purpose you seek. On the other hand, none of the cases are directly on point with your scenario -- so, you may have a case of first impression. The problem is that none of the unpublished cases support your theory -- so, in my opinion, you would be better to try to argue that a physician's legal obligation to his/her patients should prevail over a landlord's right to retain a tenant's property -- and that the court should declare a strong public policy favoring the protection of patient records. After all, while the landlord is holding the records, a patient could die due to the inability of a treating physician to refer to the patient's records. That's how I would argue the issue. To that end, see In re Crestcare Nursing & Rehab. Ctr., 222 S.W.3d 68, 73 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2006, orig. proceeding [mand. denied]) (citing Whalen v. Roe, 429 U.S. 589, 601 (1977)) (holding "[a]n individual's medical records are within a zone of privacy protected by the United States Constitution"); In re Columbia Valley Reg'l Med. Ctr., 41 S.W.3d 797, 802 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 2001, orig. proceeding); In re Xeller, 6 S.W.3d 618, 625 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1999, no pet.); C.M. v. Tomball Reg'l Hosp., 961 S.W.2d 236, 243 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1997, no writ). I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.Thanks again for using justanswer.com!
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,
I see that you have reviewed my answer, but that you have not provided a rating. Do you need any further clarification concerning my answer, or is everything satisfactory?
If you need further clarification, concerning this matter, please feel free to ask. If not, I would greatly appreciate a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.
Thanks again for using justanswer.com!