In Gargiulo v. Baystate Health, Inc., Dr. Debra Gargiulo alleged that she was discriminated against on the basis of her age and disability by Baystate Health in violation of both federal and state law. As part of her claim, the plaintiff sought production of numerous documents relating to her records, evaluations and reports, as well as those of similarly situated comparators in defendant’s Medical Residency Program. Baystate Health defended against the request for production by asserting state peer review privilege and argued that since the case was based upon jurisdictional diversity, state law should apply. The court responded as follows:
1. Regardless of diversity, there was a separate federal cause of action stated by the discrimination claims.
2. There is no federal peer review privilege in the rules of civil procedure, and Congress specifically did not create any privilege protection despite extending immunity to qualified peer review actions under Health Care Quality Improvement Act.
3. The federal interest of eliminating discrimination prevailed over the state peer review protection laws.
The court ordered the state to produce the records.