Roe v. Planned Parenthood Sw. Ohio Region, No. 2007-1832.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Ohio
Writing for the CourtLundberg Stratton
Citation122 Ohio St.3d 399,2009 Ohio 2973,912 N.E.2d 61
Decision Date01 July 2009
Docket NumberNo. 2007-1832.
PartiesROE et al., Appellants, v. PLANNED PARENTHOOD SOUTHWEST OHIO REGION et al., Appellees.
912 N.E.2d 61
122 Ohio St.3d 399
2009-Ohio-2973
ROE et al., Appellants,
v.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD SOUTHWEST OHIO REGION et al., Appellees.
No. 2007-1832.
Supreme Court of Ohio.
Submitted October 7, 2008.
Decided July 1, 2009.

[912 N.E.2d 63]

Crabbe, Brown & James, L.L.P., Brian E. Hurley, and Robert J. Gehring; Keating, Muething & Klekamp, P.L.L., Richard L. Creighton Jr., William A. Posey, and Charles M. Miller; and White, Getgey & Meyer Co., L.P.A., and Nicholas E. Bunch, Cincinnati, for appellants.

Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, L.L.P., Daniel J. Buckley, Cincinnati, Michael R. Thomas, John J. Kulewicz, Suzanne K. Richards, Columbus, Dorothea K. Langsam, Cincinnati, Maureen P. Tracey, Cleveland, Jacob D. Mahle, Alexandra T. Shimmer, and Barbara Bison Jacobson, Cincinnati, for appellees.

Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and William E. Breyer, Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney; Rachel A. Hutzel, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney; and Donald W. White, Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney, urging reversal for amici curiae Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, Rachel A. Hutzel, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney, and Donald W. White, Clermont County Prosecuting Attorney.

Kirkpatrick Law Offices P.C., and Joel J. Kirkpatrick, Farmington Hills, MI; and Mailee K. Smith, urging reversal for amici curiae members of the U.S. Congress from the State of Ohio.

Langdon Law L.L.C., and David R. Langdon; and Alliance Defense Fund and Jeffrey A. Shafer, Cincinnati, urging reversal for amici curiae Dr. and Mrs. Jack Willke, Center for Bioethical Reform, Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University, Citizens for Community Values, Citizens Media Group, Cleveland Lawyers for Life, Cleveland Right to Life, Columbus Right to Life, Dayton Right to Life, Family First, Healthy Beginnings, Institute for Principled Policy, Life Issues Institute, Mission: American, NE Ohio Values Voters, Ohio Christian Alliance, Ohio Governmental Prayer Alliance, Ohio Right to Life, Pregnancy Center East, Pregnancy Center West, Right to Life of Butler County, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, Sanctity of Life Foundation, The Reach Out Pregnancy Center, Touch the World Ministries, Warren Co. Right to Life, The Way of Love, and Women Influencing the Nation.

Bricker & Eckler, L.L.P., Anne Marie Sferra, and Bridget Purdue, urging affirmance for amici curiae the Ohio State Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Katz, Teller, Brant & Hild L.P.A. and Laura A. Hinegardner, Cincinnati, urging affirmance for amicus curiae the Ohio Psychological Association.

Collis, Smiles & Collis, L.L.C., Terri-Lynne B. Smiles, and Elizabeth Y. Collis, Columbus, urging affirmance for amicus curiae the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association.

American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation, Inc., Carrie L. Davis, and Jeffrey

[912 N.E.2d 64]

M. Gamso, Cleveland, urging affirmance for amici-curiae Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, Society for, Adolescent Medicine, National Association of Social Workers, National Center for Youth Law, Center for Adolescent Health & The Law, Ohio Now Education and Legal Fund, Ohio Domestic Violence Network, Action Ohio Domestic Violence, Break The Cycle, and Weave, Inc.

LUNDBERG STRATTON, J.


122 Ohio St.3d 399

{¶ 1} The primary issue before us is whether the plaintiffs-appellants, John and June Roe, individually and as parents of Jane Roe, a minor, are entitled to discover confidential abuse reports and medical records of nonparties in a private action for damages. A related predicate issue is whether a plaintiff is entitled to

122 Ohio St.3d 400

seek punitive damages for a breach of the duty to report suspected child abuse under former R.C. 2151.421, 2006 Sub.S.B. No. 238.

{¶ 2} The confidential abuse reports and medical records at issue are privileged from disclosure per R.C. 2317.02 and former 2151.421(H)(1). Redaction of personal, identifying information does not remove the privileged status of the records. Therefore, the reports and medical records are not subject to discovery pursuant to Civ.R. 26(B)(1).

{¶ 3} We hold that the balancing test in Biddle v. Warren Gen. Hosp. (1999), 86 Ohio St.3d 395, 715 N.E.2d 518, applies only as a defense to the tort of unauthorized disclosure of confidential medical information and does not create a right to discover confidential medical records of nonparties in a private lawsuit.

{¶ 4} In addition, we also hold that R.C. 2151.421(M) affects a substantive right and its retroactive application would violate due process and that, in the absence of statutory authority, there is no right to recover punitive damages under former R.C. 2151.421. Therefore, albeit for different reasons, we affirm the judgment of the court of appeals.

Facts and Procedural History

{¶ 5} The Roes filed this action against Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region and others (collectively, "Planned Parenthood") alleging that Planned Parenthood illegally performed an abortion on their 14-year-old daughter, Jane. The Roes alleged that Planned Parenthood failed to notify them or to secure their consent in advance of the procedure and failed to obtain Jane's informed consent to the procedure in violation of R.C. 2919.121, 2919.12, and 2317.56. The Roes also alleged that Planned Parenthood breached its duty to report suspected child abuse of Jane in violation of former R.C. 2151.421. The plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief.

{¶ 6} In the fall of 2003, when Jane was 13 and in the eighth grade, she began a sexual relationship with her 21-year-old soccer coach, John Haller. In March 2004, Jane discovered that she was pregnant and told Haller. Haller convinced Jane to have an abortion. He called Planned Parenthood and attempted to schedule an abortion for her. Planned Parenthood told Haller that he could not schedule the procedure and that Jane would have to make the appointment. After this conversation, Haller told Jane to schedule it, and he also instructed her that if asked to provide a parent's telephone number, she should give Planned Parenthood his cell phone number in lieu of her father's phone number.

{¶ 7} Jane called Planned Parenthood and told an employee that she was 14 years old and that her parents could not accompany her. She asked whether her "stepbrother" could come with her. The

912 N.E.2d 65

employee asked whether Jane's parents knew about her pregnancy. Jane lied and told the employee that one or both of

122 Ohio St.3d 401

her parents knew. In fact, neither knew. Jane gave the employee her father's correct name and address, but she lied twice more, telling the employee that her father did not have a home phone number and then giving Haller's cell phone number as her father's phone number.

{¶ 8} Planned Parenthood scheduled the abortion for March 30, 2004. The employee told Jane that someone would have to stop at Planned Parenthood to pick up an information packet but that Jane did not have to personally retrieve the packet. Sometime before the procedure, Haller picked up the information packet for Jane.

{¶ 9} The Roes alleged that they do not know whether Planned Parenthood called or attempted to call the cell phone that belonged to Haller or, if it did, whether Planned Parenthood ever spoke to Haller. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, presented evidence at a hearing that Jane had admitted that Planned Parenthood had called Haller's cell phone number and that Haller had pretended to be Jane's father and had authorized the procedure.

{¶ 10} Planned Parenthood also produced the parental-notification form filled out by the doctor who performed the procedure. The form indicated that the doctor had telephonically notified parent John Roe that Jane Roe was scheduled for an abortion at Planned Parenthood "no sooner than 24 hours from the time" the notice was given.

{¶ 11} Haller drove Jane to the clinic on the day of the procedure. When they arrived, a Planned Parenthood employee requested identification. Jane presented her school-identification card, and Haller provided his Ohio driver's license. They submitted the forms that Jane had filled out to an employee, who noted that Jane Roe's "brother John—[was] here today." Haller paid with a credit card.

{¶ 12} Before the procedure, Jane signed a form that set forth the nature and purpose of, and the medical risks associated with, the procedure. One form she signed stated that Planned Parenthood had met its statutory obligation to obtain the patient's informed consent. The Roes alleged that even if Jane had been fully informed, her age and emotional state precluded her from comprehending and understanding the risks associated with the procedure. The Roes also alleged that Jane's consent had not been given in a knowing, voluntary, or intelligent manner and that it had been procured under duress and coercion.

{¶ 13} Haller ended the relationship soon afterward. After the breakup, a teacher overheard an argument between Jane and Haller's sister, a classmate of Jane's, about Haller and his relationship with Jane, including references to Jane's sexual relationship with Haller. The teacher reported the suspected sexual abuse to the police. After a criminal investigation, Haller was convicted of seven counts of sexual battery. A criminal investigation was also conducted into Planned

122 Ohio St.3d 402

Parenthood's culpability, but the Hamilton County prosecutor did not prosecute Planned Parenthood for any statutory violation.

{¶ 14} After the Roes filed their lawsuit, they sought discovery from Planned Parenthood, including any reports of abuse made pursuant to R.C. 2151.421 and the medical records of nonparty minors who had been patients at Planned Parenthood during a ten-year period. Planned Parenthood produced Jane's medical records...

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  • McFarland v. W. Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, Lorain, Oh, Inc., No. 15CA010740.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • August 22, 2016
    ...cases upon which Appellants rely concern privileged documents. See, e.g., 60 N.E.3d 49Roe v. Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Reg., 122 Ohio St.3d 399, 2009-Ohio-2973, 912 N.E.2d 61, ¶ 46–52 (privileged medical records); Wozniak v. Kombrink, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C–89053, 1991 WL 17213 (F......
  • Wipf v. Altstiel, No. 27491.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • December 21, 2016
    ...exception to the physician-patient privilege is a matter for the [Legislature] to address." Roe v. Planned Parenthood Sw. Ohio Region, 122 Ohio St.3d 399, 912 N.E.2d 61, 71 (2009) ; see also Pitt–Hart, 2016 S.D. 33, ¶ 10 n. 2, 878 N.W.2d at 410 n. 2. Therefore, I would reverse.¶ 36.] SEVERS......
  • Maiorana v. Walt Disney Co., 20AP-207
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • December 23, 2021
    ...the trial court's ruling on discovery matters under an abuse of discretion analysis. Roe v. Planned Parenthood S.W. Ohio Region , 122 Ohio St.3d 399, 421, 912 N.E.2d 61 (2009).{¶ 64} R.C. 1343.03(C) serves to encourage parties to make good faith settlement offers to resolve their case in or......
  • Hurt v. Liberty Twp., No. 17 CAI 05 0031
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • September 22, 2017
    ...Schlotterer , 122 Ohio St.3d 181, 2009-Ohio-2496, 909 N.E.2d 1237, at ¶ 13 ; see also Roe v. Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, 122 Ohio St.3d 399, 2009-Ohio-2973, 912 N.E.2d 61, ¶ 29. "When a court's judgment is based on an erroneous interpretation of the law, an abuse-of-discretion......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
63 cases
  • McFarland v. W. Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, Lorain, Oh, Inc., No. 15CA010740.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • August 22, 2016
    ...cases upon which Appellants rely concern privileged documents. See, e.g., 60 N.E.3d 49Roe v. Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Reg., 122 Ohio St.3d 399, 2009-Ohio-2973, 912 N.E.2d 61, ¶ 46–52 (privileged medical records); Wozniak v. Kombrink, 1st Dist. Hamilton No. C–89053, 1991 WL 17213 (F......
  • Wipf v. Altstiel, No. 27491.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • December 21, 2016
    ...exception to the physician-patient privilege is a matter for the [Legislature] to address." Roe v. Planned Parenthood Sw. Ohio Region, 122 Ohio St.3d 399, 912 N.E.2d 61, 71 (2009) ; see also Pitt–Hart, 2016 S.D. 33, ¶ 10 n. 2, 878 N.W.2d at 410 n. 2. Therefore, I would reverse.¶ 36.] SEVERS......
  • Kennedy v. W. Reserve Senior Care, 2021-P-0055
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • January 30, 2023
    ...methods of enforcement of rights or obtaining redress.'" Havel at ¶ 16, quoting Roe v. Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, 122 Ohio St.3d 399, 2009-Ohio-2973, 912 N.E.2d 61, ¶ 34. {¶112} In an oft-quoted passage utilized to reject repose statutes, it was asserted that: {¶113} "Except ......
  • Maiorana v. Walt Disney Co., 20AP-207
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • December 23, 2021
    ...the trial court's ruling on discovery matters under an abuse of discretion analysis. Roe v. Planned Parenthood S.W. Ohio Region , 122 Ohio St.3d 399, 421, 912 N.E.2d 61 (2009).{¶ 64} R.C. 1343.03(C) serves to encourage parties to make good faith settlement offers to resolve their case in or......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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