Dillenbeck v. Hess

73 N.Y.2d 278, 539 N.Y.S.2d 707, 536 N.E.2d 1126 (1989)

From our private database of 45,900+ case briefs, written and edited by humans—never with AI.

Dillenbeck v. Hess

New York Court of Appeals
73 N.Y.2d 278, 539 N.Y.S.2d 707, 536 N.E.2d 1126 (1989)

Facts

Donald Dillenbeck (plaintiff) sued Sherry Hess (defendant), alleging that Hess killed Dillenbeck’s wife and seriously injured Dillenbeck’s son in a drunk-driving accident for which Hess ultimately was convicted of criminally negligent homicide. Hess’s answer denied Dillenbeck’s allegations and asserted comparative negligence and the failure to wear seat belts as affirmative defenses. Hess, who also was injured in the accident, was taken to the hospital, where she was given a blood-alcohol test for treatment purposes. Pursuant to Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) § 3121(a), which authorized discovery of medical information if a party’s mental or physical condition was in controversy, Dillenbeck asked Hess to produce the results of her blood-alcohol test. In support of his motion, Dillenbeck submitted, among other things, evidence that Hess had been drinking alcohol for several hours before the accident. Hess cross-moved for a protective order pursuant to CPLR § 3122, arguing that the blood-alcohol test was protected under CPLR § 4504 by the physician-patient privilege and thus not discoverable. The supreme court rejected Dillenbeck’s request for the blood-alcohol test. The appellate division affirmed. Dillenbeck appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alexander, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 736,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 736,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,900 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 736,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 45,900 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership