Wednesday, December 18, 2013

City and County of San Francisco v. Superior Court case brief

City and County of San Francisco v. Superior Court case brief summary
231 P.2d 26 (Cal. 1951)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner brought a proceeding in mandamus to compel respondent Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (California), to order a physician to answer certain questions in a personal injury suit brought against petitioner.

CASE FACTS
Petitioner had been sued for personal injuries. The claimant in that case had undergone several examinations for his injuries by a doctor at the request of his attorney. In his deposition, the doctor refused to answer questions pertaining to the claimant's condition. Petitioner sought a writ of mandamus to compel respondent to order the doctor to answer the questions regarding the claimant's condition.

DISCUSSION

  • In its determination, the court held that there was no physician-patient privilege since the claimant had placed his medical condition in issue. 
  • However, the court concluded that the claimant could invoke the attorney-client privilege in regard to the doctor's testimony under Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §1881(2). 
  • Since the doctor acted as an intermediate agent for communication between the claimant and his attorneys, the statements made by the claimant to the doctor were confidential and privileged.

CONCLUSION
The court denied the writ for mandamus, because the claimant was able to invoke the attorney-client privilege under the California civil procedure code since the physician acted as an intermediate agent for communication between the claimant and his attorney.

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