Jamaica, NY asked in Personal Injury and Sexual Harassment for New York

Q: Are a sexual abuser's mental health records subject to discovery in New York?

Someone sexually abused me when I was younger. I know he got treatment for his sexual issues after he abused me at a mental health facility. I have sued him and demanded his records in discovery, but he is claiming that he never got treatment. I know the name of the facility where he got treatment. The facility is telling me they need an order from the court to release any records. Do I have the right to obtain his mental health records? If you could point me to a particular law or case so I can show the judge, that would be great. Thank you.

Update: In response to the answer below, I have already demanded the documents as part of discovery. They are refusing to provide them, claiming there is a privilege, so your suggested course of action, while appreciated, is not going to accomplish anything. As I stated above, I need to make a motion to the judge to order the records to be produced, and I need to have something I can show the judge why she should order them produced.

1 Lawyer Answer
V. Jonas Urba
V. Jonas Urba
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: 1) Notice the abuser's deposition duces tecum.

Direct them to bring any and all of their mental health records to the deposition (assuming they have such records which they may not have). Ask the abuser to "identify every physician, psychiatrist, or mental health facility the abuser has ever treated at" and then subpoena those records.

2) You could also notice the deposition of the mental health expert who treated the abuser, duces tecum.

Have them bring all of the abuser's mental health records to the deposition you take.

But if your purpose is to try to prove that the abuse actually happened instead of that the abuser has X or Y illness or condition, would not it be easier to rely on your own testimony and cross examine the abuser effectively to discredit their testimony or to locate others who they probably abused at the same time as you?

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