• Judicial Invasion into the Peer Review Privilege
  • February 14, 2014 | Authors: A. Joseph Engel; Stephanie C. Hoffer
  • Law Firm: Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, P.C. - Grand Rapids Office
  • Recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a sanction of almost $54,000 imposed against a hospital and its defense attorney in a surgical Bovie burn case. In Harrison v Munson, the trial court imposed the sanction (which was the amount plaintiff incurred in prosecuting the action) after it reviewed an incident report in camera and decided the defense presented by the hospital was inconsistent with “facts” contained in the incident report. The ensuing maelstrom was caused by a single phrase used by a nurse drafting the incident report: “During procedure Bovie was laid on drape, in a fold.” Although the trial court determined the incident report was protected from disclosure by the peer review privilege, it still used its own interpretation of the incident report facts to assess the validity of the defense presented. The trial court concluded the defense violated certain ethical rules, and imposed the sanctions as punishment.