Legal Nurse Consultant Accused of Invading Privacy of Law Firm Client

Michael Morgenstern

Written by
— Updated on October 13, 2017

legal nurse consultantThis medico legal case involves a woman who hired a law firm to represent her in a personal injury claim. The law firm employed a legal nurse consultant who also worked part-time as an instructor for a legal nurse consultant class. The law firm obtained the woman’s medical records, documents and deposition transcripts for future litigation. After the personal injury claim was settled, the law firm sent the woman a letter stating that she could sell her medical records and depositions to the legal nurse consultant to be used in her class for a fee of $500. The woman agreed to let the legal nurse consultant use her records and signed a release which stated that her name would be removed from all her records prior to photocopying for the class. The legal nurse consultant failed to remove the woman’s name from the records and went ahead and used them in her class. The woman later found out about this and sued the law firm alleging that the legal nurse consultant had invaded her privacy in the course of her employment at the law firm.

 

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Can a legal nurse consultant employed by a law firm use confidential client records for outside teaching purposes without removing the client’s name from the records?

Expert Witness Response

In cases where a law firm employee has been accused of violating the privacy of a law firm client, it has generally been held that a law firm may be held to be vicariously liable for the negligent acts of the employee that are committed while the employee acts within the scope of their employment. However, the acts of a law firm employee are not “in the scope of employment” if the employee engages in acts that are different in kind to those that are authorized by the law firm, that are far beyond the authorized time or space limits of the employment at the law firm, or too little actuated by a purpose to serve the law firm. In determining whether a law firm employee’s conduct was within the scope of their employment, the intent of the employee is also important. In this case, because the legal nurse consultant was acting as an instructor of a class outside of her work at the law firm when she failed to redact the woman’s name from the records, she was not acting in the scope of her employment with the law firm and the firm is not liable for her invading the client’s privacy in this case. Also, since the legal nurse consultant was not intending to act in her capacity as a consultant to the law firm, but only intended to act as a teacher, the law firm would not be liable for her invading the client’s privacy in this case.

Contact this expert witness

Find a Document Expert Witness Near You

What State is your case in?

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY