Michael J. Crumb of Associated Press reports on a case where grandparents seeking their adult child’s mental and physical health records as part of a visitation dispute concerning their grandson were turned away by the Iowa Supreme Court. The grandparents had sought their daughter’s records after she refused to allow them to have contact with her young son. Crumb reports that the court overturned a lower court’s ruling requiring production of the records:
A district court ordered Mulligan to produce her physical and mental health records to her parents, because the Ashenfelters had to prove their daughter was unfit to make a decision regarding grandparent visitation.
Mulligan appealed and the Supreme Court reversed the district court’s decision, deciding that the records were protected by Mulligan’s constitutional right to privacy.
Importantly, the court did not have to rule in this case if it chose not to, as a change in state law made the grandparents’ case moot.
But justices moved forward with ruling on the case, because “we believe individual privacy interests in medical and mental health records presents an issue of great public interest. We foresee this issue arising in the future, in the context of grandparent visitation as well as other civil contexts.”
Read more in the Chicago Tribune.