United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
NANNETTE A. BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
above matter was referred to the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).
Defendant Shannon Bradley is charged along with co-defendant
Jacob Brewer in two counts in an indictment. Count one
charges Bradley with conspiracy to distribute and to possess
with the intent to distribute a mixture or substance
containing detectable amounts of heroin and fentanyl with
death resulting, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1),
(b)(1)(c) and 21 U.S.C. § 846. Bradley is charged in
Court two with distribution of a mixture or substance
containing a detectable amount of heroin and fentanyl, with
death resulting, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §2 and 21
U.S.C. § 841(a), (b)(1)(C).
United States filed a Motion for Order Requiring Disclosure
of Medical Documents [Doc. 57]. The government is seeking
Bradley's medical records from Mercy Hospital in
Washington, Missouri. The medical records are protected
health information under the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), therefore, the government
seeks the medical records pursuant to 45 C.F.R. §
evidentiary hearing was held in this case on October 24,
2018. Detective Leon Burton of the multi county narcotics and
violent crimes enforcement unit testified. On October 21,
2017, Detective Burton began an investigation into the
overdose death of a woman identified as A.C.
determined through his investigation that Shannon Bradley and
Jacob Brewer may have distributed the drugs that led to
A.C.'s overdose. On October 25, 2017, Bradley was
arrested at a gas station parking lot in Franklin County.
When officers approached the vehicle, Bradley was sitting in
the passenger seat. As they were taking Bradley into custody,
officers saw her place several capsules down the front of her
pants. After being transported to the jail, a female jailer
removed some of the capsules that Bradley had placed in her
pants, but others had started to dissolve inside her vagina.
Concerned that the capsules might contain fentanyl, officers
took Bradley to a hospital for medical care.
capsules were also found on the front seat of the vehicle and
were tested. Detective Burton stated that the capsules tested
positive for heroin and fentanyl.
to HIPAA, individually identifiable medical information
cannot be disclosed by covered entities without the consent
of the individual unless disclosure was expressly permitted
by HIPAA. 45 C.F.R. § 164.502. There are several
instances where disclosure is permitted without authorization
from the individual. 45 C.F.R. § 164.512. “A
covered entity may use or disclose protected health
information to the extent that such use or disclosure is
required by law and the use or disclosure complies
with and is limited to the relevant requirements of such
law.” 45 C.F.R. § 164.512(a)(1) (emphasis added).
“Required by law” is defined as “a mandate
contained in law that compels an entity to make a use or
disclosure of protected health information and that is
enforceable in a court of law.” 45 C.F.R. §
164.103. “Required by law includes, but is not limited
to, court orders and court-ordered warrants; subpoenas or
summons issued by a court, grand jury, a governmental or
tribal inspector general, or an administrative body
authorized to require the production of information
....” Id. “A disclosure made pursuant to
§ 164.512(a) must meet the requirements outlined in
§ 164.512(c), (e), or (f).” United States v.
Zamora, 408 F.Supp.2d 295, 297-98 (S.D. Tex. 2006)
(citing 45 C.F.R. § 164.512(a)(2)).
164.512(f) provides for disclosure of protected information
for law enforcement purposes. 45 C.F.R. § 164.512(f).
This section permits disclosures for law enforcement purposes
to a law enforcement official as required by law, or
in compliance with “(A) A court order or court-ordered
warrant, or a subpoena or summons issued by a judicial
officer; (B) A grand jury subpoena; or (C) An administrative
request, including an administrative subpoena or summons, a
civil or an authorized investigative demand, or similar
process authorized under law....” 45 C.F.R. §
164.512(f)(1). As an initial matter, pursuant to §
164.512(f)(1)(ii)(C), information sought must be relevant and
material to the law enforcement inquiry, the request must be
specific and limited in light of the information sought.
government seeks records pertaining to Bradley's
examination and treatment. It contends that the treatment
records “will contain relevant information as to the
cause of death which is an element of the offense.”
[Doc. 57 at 3.] The motion also states, “The
records…may contain relevant information regarding the
composition of the drugs found in her possession which she
tried to hide and/or dispose of by putting them down her
pants.” [Doc. 57 at 3.]
argues that her treatment records dated four days after
A.C.'s death are not relevant to the drug conspiracy. In
addition, she argues that any information regarding the
composition of the drugs that might have been in
Bradley's system is not relevant to A.C.'s cause of
death. Bradley also raises privacy concerns, which she
contends outweigh the government's interest in obtaining
undersigned agrees with Defendant. While the information
sought by the government may serve the law enforcement
purpose of acquiring incriminating evidence against Brewer,
this purpose does not outweigh her right to privacy of her
medical records. The government's request is broad. It
seeks “the medical records pertaining to her
examination and treatment.” These medical records could
include a history taken by the treating physician, statement
made by the defendant to assist in her treatment regarding
why she is being treated and other information that would not
be relevant to the law enforcement inquiry. In addition,
there is no evidence before the court that the medical
records contain information regarding the composition of the
drugs found in her possession. Therefore, I recommend that
the government's motion be denied.
IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that the
Government's Motion for Order Requiring Disclosure of
Medical Documents [Doc. ...