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Cook County Court Backpedals on Recent HIPAA Protective Order

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2022 | Firm News

On April 12, 2022, the Circuit Court of Cook County vacated the November 5, 2021 “Law Division General Administrative Order 21-3” as well as its requirement to use its corresponding HIPAA Protective Order. The order to vacate comes only 5 months after its highly controversial entry. The notorious HIPAA Protective Order followed the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent decision in Haage v. Zavala, 2021 IL 125918 to add extra protections for the use, disclosure, and destruction of protected health information.

The laundry list of requirements addressed in the November 5, 2021, HIPAA Protective Order imposed significant hurdles for Defendants in cases involving bodily injury. Under the HIPAA Protective Order, heavy restrictions were imposed on the utilization of subpoenas. For example, all subpoenas restricted requests for medical records to a period of five years prior to the incident, required 14-day notice to Plaintiff before subpoenas could be issued, prevented Defendants from using “any and all” language when seeking medical records, and further restricted subpoena requests to identifiable “condition(s) and portion(s) of the Plaintiff’s body” complained of. Even during its short period of time, the November 5, 2021 Law Division General Order placed a burden and significant limitation on defendants seeking discovery of a plaintiff’s relevant medical history necessary to defend their case.

The April 12, 2022 Order to Vacate also contains a newly drafted sample HIPAA Protective Order which may be used and modified by agreement of the parties. Any disagreement by the parties regarding a proposed HIPAA Protective Order will now go before the parties’ assigned Law Division Judge for individual review.