Shaub Ahmuty Attorneys’ Published in Risk Management Journal on Burden on Quality Assurance Privilege for Non-Party Statements

A decision by the Appellate Division, Second Department on December 22, 2021, clarified the scope of the quality assurance privilege and the corresponding “party-statement exception” to that privilege. Health care litigation and appellate attorneys Christopher Simone and Lena Holubnyczyj discussed this clarification in Risk Management Journal.

The court held that a hospital defendant has the burden of demonstrating that a statement claimed to be privileged made at a quality assurance meeting derived from a person who is not a party to the action.

Chris and Lena explain the Public Health Law party statements and exemptions. They also review and highlight takeaways from Siegel v Snyder, which decided the  impacts discovery of recorded statements made at quality assurance meetings.

The two attorneys state that to avoid disclosure beyond party statements, all quality assurance meeting minutes should identify, by full name and Appellate Division Clarifies Burden on Quality Assurance Privilege for Non-Party statements professional title, each person making a statement at such a meeting. This will ensure that, upon a motion for a protective order in response to a discovery demand, the hospital can satisfy its burden of establishing that certain statements are subject to the quality assurance privilege. By identifying the speakers in the meeting minutes, the hospital can affirmatively prove to the reviewing court that certain statements were indeed made by nonparties to the underlying medical malpractice action. Upon such a showing, those statements should be deemed privileged and not subject to disclosure because they are not “party statements.”

The chairman of the firm’s Litigation/Appellate Strategy & Advocacy Group, Chris Simone provides pragmatic counsel informed by experience inside the Court as well as before it. He focuses his practice on complex, high-exposure litigation and frequently works on behalf of leading excess carriers. Chris has litigated hundreds of appeals and motions in state and federal trial and appellate courts in personal injury, labor law, general and professional liability defense, insurance coverage and other areas.

Physicians, hospital professionals, and claims representatives depend on Lena Holubnyczyj to expertly guide them through the appeals process in complex medical malpractice matters. She diligently drafts appellate briefs and motions, distilling technical legal and medical issues in a way that makes the difficult jargon easily comprehensible.

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