Daniel A. v. Walter H

In Daniel A. v. Walter H., 195 Wis. 2d 971, 983-84, 537 N.W.2d 103, 108 (Ct. App. 1995) the parents of children who were allegedly sexually assaulted by a mental health patient who had been placed in the parents' home as a foster placement brought an action against the patient, the county, the private care provider and employees of the county. During that personal injury action, the parents sought to compel discovery by oral deposition of county employees concerning incidents of the patient's "sexuality" of which county employees were aware before and subsequent to placement in the parents' home. The county opposed the discovery requests on the grounds that the information was contained in treatment records and subject to privilege and confidentiality protections. The Court agreed and concluded that the employees could not be deposed about their knowledge of the patient's conduct, if it was obtained through records kept about his conduct, but that employees could be deposed where they obtained information through their own personal observations. See id. at 990, 537 N.W.2d at 111. In so doing, the Court implicitly concluded that a record of the conduct of a mental health patient recorded by health care providers was a treatment record, within the ambit of Wis. Stat. 51.30(1)(b) and protected from disclosure, except as provided in 51.30.