Lofton v. Grieco

Civil Practice

New York Law Journal

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Justice Randy Sue Marber

Lofton plaintiffs sought to compel defendant, including Glen Cove Hospital, to produce an original record of admission of their decedent for a non-destructive examination, inspection and photographing by plaintiffs' forensic handwriting expert. Decedent was admitted as a patient at the hospital and allegedly informed that he needed surgery. Defendants contended decedent initially refused and later consented, but "arrested and died before the surgery could be performed." Plaintiffs alleged notes in the hospital record were not made contemporaneously, and sought a forensic handwriting expert exam to determine if all the notes were made at the same time. Defendants argued plaintiffs failed to show "a reasonable basis to conduct a forensic examination" of the hospital chart. The court disagreed, ruling plaintiffs' counsel articulated a reasonable basis to obtain the requested discovery. It stated that a non-destructive forensic exam of the hospital record to determine if the entry in question was made simultaneously with the rest of the notes in the chart was not unreasonable. The court noted such examination would not cause an undue burden on defendants, and was not intended to harass or annoy defendants, granting the relief sought.

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