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Judges order pharmacy board to respond to subpoena

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A Marion Superior trial court erred in granting the Indiana Board of Pharmacy’s motion to quash a defendant’s subpoena that the board produce a certified copy of “any and all” of his prescription records so he could use the information as defense for the charges of possession of a controlled substance, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.  

On interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals found that Nicholas Williams waived any physician- or pharmacist-patient privilege outlined in Indiana Code when he requested the records from the pharmacy board. Williams was arrested and charged with possessing the controlled substances methadone and alprazolam. He originally couldn’t recall what doctors had prescribed the drugs, so he asked for the data kept in the pharmacy board’s electronic drug tracking program INSPECT RX. He later could recall the doctor names but not where he filled the prescriptions.

The Indiana Board of Pharmacy cited the confidentiality components of Indiana Code 35-48-7-11.1 to deny Williams’ request and support its motion to quash his request. The COA noted that the statute does not list the patient as someone specifically authorized to receive the information from the INSPECT RX database.

“To the extent that the confidential information in the database might also be considered privileged, by virtue of either the physician-patient privilege or the pharmacist-patient privilege, that privilege inures to the patient, not the Board (or the physician or the pharmacist, for that matter),” wrote Judge Terry Crone in Nicholas Williams v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1103-CR-266.

Williams’ request for information from the database amounts to a waiver of any privilege, so the judges found that the three-part test for discoverability – particularity, relevance or materiality and “paramount interest” – applies in this case.

His request was sufficiently particular, the request information is material to his defense, not all of the information requested would be available from his doctors, and the board failed to show a paramount interest in not disclosing the information, ruled the appellate court.

The judges remanded for further proceedings.

 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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