Rockhill Pain Specialists v. Hancock

No. 115,620 IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF KANSAS IN RE ROCKHILL PAIN SPECIALISTS, P.A., DANIEL R. KLOSTER, M.D., Appellee, v. DAN L. HANCOCK, M.D., Appellant. SYLLABUS BY THE COURT 1. The restrictions regarding dissemination of reports and records of public health care licensing agencies contained in K.S.A. 65-4925 are a statutory exception to the general rule contained in K.S.A. 60-407 that all relevant evidence is admissible. 2. A strict or narrow interpretation is applied to statutory exceptions to the rule contained in K.S.A. 60-407 that all relevant evidence is admissible. 3. The plain language of K.S.A. 65-4925 does not prohibit the admission into evidence of the ultimate result of investigations by public health care licensing agencies. 4. The good-faith immunity provided under K.S.A. 65-2898 for persons that report information regarding incidents of malpractice, or the qualifications, fitness or character of, or disciplinary action taken against, a person licensed, registered or certified by the 1 board of healing arts adequately protects the public interest in encouraging reporting of unfitness. 5. Unless otherwise limited by court order, parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to a party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case. 6. A privilege is a rule of evidence that allows a person to shield confidential communications or information from compelled disclosure during litigation. 7. Because they are exceptions to the general rule that parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter that is relevant to a party's claim or defense, evidentiary privileges are to be strictly construed. 8. The fact that a statute identifies information as confidential does not necessarily mean that the statute has created an evidentiary privilege. 9. The trial court is vested with broad discretion in supervising the course and scope of discovery. 10. In discovery proceedings when a claim of privilege, confidentiality, or irrelevance is raised by a litigant, the court has a duty to conduct an in camera inspection to permit discovery of only relevant documents to protect against unnecessary and damaging 2 disclosure of irrelevant confidential material. The court must balance the interests of the litigants as well as the public interest in maintaining the confidentiality of the material. 11. Findings and other records submitted to or generated by hospital peer review committees or officers are privileged and are not subject to discovery. But by statute, the holder of the privilege is the hospital peer review officer or committee creating or initially receiving the record, not the individual doctors or medical professionals submitting the record. 12. A doctor's responses to a Kansas Board of Healing Arts investigation are confidential but not privileged under K.S.A. 65-2839a(d). 13. Damages recoverable for defamation cannot be presumed but must be proven. 14. Defamation is not a personal injury action as contemplated by K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 60-19a02(a). 15. Failure to request an itemization of noneconomic damages prior to the discharge of the jury waives any claim to apply the caps on noneconomic damages in K.S.A. 2016 ...

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