Court: Couple Can't Have Adult Child's Records
Headline Legal News | 2011/01/03 17:07

An Iowa couple cannot have access to their adult child's physical and mental health records after being denied visitation with their grandson, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The court issued its ruling in the Plymouth County case between Jerry and Susan Ashenfelter and their daughter, Amy Mulligan. The Ashenfelters sought their daughter's records after she decided it was in her 6-year-old son's best interest not to have contact with them.

A district court ordered Mulligan to produce her physical and mental health records to her parents, because the Ashenfelters had to prove their daughter was unfit to make a decision regarding grandparent visitation.

Mulligan appealed and the Supreme Court reversed the district court's decision, deciding that the records were protected by Mulligan's constitutional right to privacy.

"The district court abused its discretion in ordering Amy to produce her medical and mental health records to the Ashenfelters," the court wrote.

The high court's ruling refers to the Ashenfelters' request for a 2008 commitment court file, notes, records and reports from counseling sessions at a sexual assault and domestic violence center but does not elaborate. But no commitment file existed because Mulligan was hospitalized voluntarily, the court said.

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