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Matter of City of New York v. Bleuler Psychotherapy Ctr - Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Matter of City of New York v Bleuler Psychotherapy Ctr. (181 Misc 2d 994 [Sup Ct, NY County 1999]), the court directed a treatment provider to comply with a subpoena issued on behalf of the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Alcoholism Services, for the production of all documents in its possession relating to the treatment of a patient who allegedly caused the death of a third party by pushing her from a subway platform.

Applying Mental Hygiene Law § 33.13, the court found that the interests of justice outweighed the need for confidentiality, given that disclosure would permit the agency to perform its statutorily mandated duty to investigate whether the patient had received appropriate care and what steps could be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future. In other words, the State's statutory duty to prevent harm inflicted by patients outweighed the patients' and the treatment center's need for confidentiality in the treatment records.

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