Medical Studies Act Privilege Assessed By Manifest Weight Of The Evidence

Judy Anderson died while in care of Rush-Copley Medical Center. Her estate sued Rush for medical malpractice. In discovery, Rush refused to turn over two categories of documents: medical journal articles and an Action Plan. Rush claimed the documents were used in connection with a peer review and therefore were privileged under the Illinois Medical Studies Act.

The Second District Illinois Appellate Court identified the proper standard of review. The court distinguished this case from a typical question of whether a legal privilege applied, and decided that the trial court deserved more deference. “Whether a discovery privilege applies is a matter of law, subject to de novo review … However, whether specific materials are part of an internal quality control or a medical study is a factual determination, which will not be reversed on review unless it is against the manifest weight of the evidence.”

In the end, the appellate court ruled that the articles and the plan were privileged and did not have to be disclosed. Read the whole case, Anderson v. Rush-Copley Medical Center, Nos. 2097-0717, 2-07-1272 (8/14/08), by clicking here.