State ex rel. W.Va. Fire & Cas. v. Karl
In State ex rel. W.Va. Fire & Cas. v. Karl, 202 W. Va. 471, 505 S.E.2d 210 (1998) (per curiam), the insurance company sought to prevent the release of claim files in infant settlement cases which were resolved without court approval.
The insurance company claimed that disclosure of such documentation would violate the privacy rights of nonlitigant third parties and could subject the company to liability for violation of privacy rights.
The circuit court ordered production of the claim files but issued a protective order to preserve the interests of nonlitigants.
Fire and Casualty filed a writ of prohibition attempting to prevent production.
The Court acknowledged that the privacy rights of nonlitigant third parties are important and concluded that the privacy interests of the nonlitigant infants could be protected "by redacting the names, addresses, personal medical information, and other identifying material from the records." Id., 202 W. Va. at 476, 505 S.E.2d at 215.
Upon completion of redaction, the infant claim portions of the requested files were ordered to be produced.