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City and County of San Francisco v. Superior Court

Supreme Court of California
231 P.2d 26 (Cal. 1951)


James Hession brought an action for personal injuries against the City and County of San Francisco (City) (plaintiff). Prior to that trial, upon a specific request of Hession’s attorneys, Dr. Joseph Catton gave Hession a neurological and psychiatric exam. Dr. Catton was not Hession’s physician and the sole purpose of the examination was to give Hession’s attorneys information for the lawsuit. At that trial, Dr. Catton refused to answer the City’s questions about Hession’s condition on the grounds of privilege. The City asked the superior court to order Dr. Catton to answer the questions. The superior court refused to do so. The City appealed, seeking a writ of mandamus to compel the superior court to order Dr. Catton to answer the questions.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Traynor, J.)

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