Brief Fact Summary. James Hession brought suit against
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A physicians examination in preparation for a trial is protected under an attorney-client privilege but not a physician-patient privilege.
Issue. The issue is whether the physician’s examination was protected under a physician-patient privilege or an attorney-client privilege.
Held. The Supreme Court of California held that the physician-patient privilege did not apply because the physician did not examine the patient in an ordinary course of care for the patient, but rather as preparation for a trial. Hession also waives the privilege when he brought a suit for injuries. However, since the physician acted as an intermediary between Hession and his lawyer, the examination is protected as attorney-client communication.
Discussion. Just as evidence can come in under more than one hearsay rule, a communication can fall under alternative privileges. In this case a physician’s exam has no physician-patient privilege, but the nature of the exam still keeps it privileged as an attorney-client communication.