N.D. Cent. Code § 28-01-46.1

Current through 2021 Legislative Session
Section 28-01-46.1 - Waiver of privilege for health care providers and informal discussion

A party who commences an action for malpractice, error, mistake, or failure to cure, whether based on contract or tort, against a health care provider, as defined in section 32-42-01, or a health care facility, on the person's own behalf or in a representative capacity, waives in that action any privilege existing under rule 503 of the North Dakota Rules of Evidence, as to any medical records, opinions, or other information in the possession of any other health care provider who has examined or cared for the party or other person whose health or medical condition has been placed in controversy in the action. The waiver must permit all defendants to the action, and their attorneys or authorized representatives, to examine the medical records, opinions, or other information and informally participate in a discussion with the health care provider, if the provider consents, regarding the medical records, opinions, or other information that appear reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence as to any element of the action or the defense of the action. Any statements made by a health care provider during an informal discussion are not admissible, directly or by reference in direct or cross-examination of any witness, in any administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding. However, this section does not render inadmissible any statements obtained from the health care provider in discovery or any legal proceedings independent of the informal discussion which are otherwise admissible in the administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding.

The plaintiff's attorney or authorized representative must have the opportunity to be present at any informal discussion. This requirement is satisfied if the defendant's attorney serves a written notice on the plaintiff's attorney at least fifteen days prior to the informal discussion stating the time, date, and location of the informal discussion. If the plaintiff's attorney, after consultation with the defendant's attorney, is unable to attend the discussion at the time or on the date specified in the notice or at some other agreed-upon date and time, the court in which the action is pending shall, upon motion of any party before the date specified in the notice, hold a scheduling conference to set a date and time for the informal discussion that will best serve the convenience of the parties and the health care provider and the interests of justice. Appropriate authorizations permitting access to the written medical record, informal discussion, and testimony at a deposition or trial must be provided by the party commencing the action at the time the action is commenced. If the party commencing the action fails to provide appropriate authorizations at the time the action is commenced, the health care provider or health care facility may use other means to obtain the records such as by subpoena or by seeking a court order. If alternative means to obtain a patient's records are used, the court shall award reasonable costs incurred by the health care provider or health care facility in obtaining those records, including reasonable attorney's fees.

N.D.C.C. § 28-01-46.1