Blazek v. Superior Court In and For Cnty. of Maricopa
In Blazek v. Superior Court In and For Cnty. of Maricopa, 177 Ariz. 535, 536, 869 P.2d 509, 510 (App. 1994), the plaintiff accused the defendant of sexual harassment and rape. 177 Ariz. at 536, 869 P.2d at 510.
Because the plaintiff was claiming emotional distress damages, the defendant argued plaintiff had placed at issue her psychological condition and asserted he was entitled to inspect all of her psychological and medical records held by two psychologists who had either consulted with or evaluated her about matters unrelated to her claims against the defendant. Id. at 541, 869 P.2d at 515.
There, the plaintiff had given the defendant access to the psychological and medical records she contended pertained to her injuries and treatment stemming from the alleged sexual harassment and rape, but there, as here, the defendant wanted to see all the plaintiff's medical records. Id.
Without conducting an in camera inspection, the superior court found the plaintiff had placed her psychological condition at issue by claiming she was suffering from severe emotional distress and ordered her to either waive her claim for emotional distress damages or disclose all the records. Id.
The Court vacated the superior court's order and held that "on the face of the trial court's order," it had abused its discretion by permitting unlimited discovery of the psychologists' records without first determining the relevance of the information. Id. at 542, 869 P.2d at 516. The Court stated:
The scope of an implied waiver of a psychologist-patient privilege is limited only to those communications concerning the specific condition which petitioner has placed at issue. The trial court may have determined which specific mental conditions petitioner has placed at issue, but the court did not know whether all the information contained in the psychologists' records related to those conditions. Before allowing defendant complete access to petitioner's psychological records, the trial court should have conducted an in camera review of them to determine what information, if any, was reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence concerning petitioner's claims. Id.