Court grants Firm client Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation's request for ex parte contact with plaintiff's physicians in Oregon.

On April 9, 2010, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee granted a motion filed by Firm client Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“NPC”) for leave to have ex parte communications with health care providers who have treated a plaintiff in Oregon.  In re: Aredia and Zometa Products Liability Litigation, No. 3:06-MDL-1760 (M.D. Tenn. Apr. 9, 2010).  The court agreed with NPC’s argument that plaintiff had waived the physician-patient privilege and held that “Oregon law does not prohibit ex parte communications with a plaintiff’s treating physician where a plaintiff waives the privilege.”  Moreover, the court rejected plaintiff’s reliance on an Oregon trial court’s ruling involving a federal statute, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”).  According to the Middle District of Tennessee, the Oregon trial court’s ruling “is not persuasive in light of federal precedent interpreting HIPAA.”