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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On behalf of Sheila Williams, a patient at Crestcare Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Willa Clements sued Crestcare for injuries she said Williams suffered as a result of Crestcare’s negligence. In Clements’ request for production, she asked for personnel files of employees working on Williams’ wing during the time when she was injured. She also asked for job performance evaluations for those employees, personnel records of those familiar with Clements’ law suit, and personnel files of all administrators at the hospital. Crestcare resisted production of these documents, citing various privileges and exemptions. Clements filed a motion to compel, and at the hearing, Crestcare reiterated its objections. Crestcare also asserted that its employees’ right to privacy prohibited production. The trial court granted the motion to compel as to the personnel files of the employees working on Williams’ wing at the time she was injured. Crestcare asserted that the trial court had a duty to first review the personnel files in camera. The trial court said it would review specific files Crestcare offered, but it would not review all of the files “en masse.” The trial court then granted Williams’ motion to compel on the other files as well. Crestcare files for a writ of mandamus to compel the trial court to rescind its order. HOLDING:Petition denied. Noting that this case touches on the right to privacy as it relates to the disclosure of personal information, the court points out that not every publication of personal information violates the constitutional zone of privacy. The court rejects Crestcare’s suggestion that a trial court must always conduct an in camera inspection when the party resisting discovery asserts a privacy right. The court agrees, however, that in some instances, information in a personnel file might fall within the constitutional zone of privacy. It is thus up to the party resisting disclosure to set forth factual allegations showing that the information sought does indeed violate an individual’s privacy rights. A hospital administrator provided an affidavit stating that personnel files are created with each employee’s right to privacy in mind, that the records are supposed to be disclosed only to the employee, not to the general public, and that the files are to remain privileged and confidential. The court finds, however, that these statements have no probative value and do not constitute a prima facie showing that the personnel files sought were actually within a constitutionally protected zone of privacy. The trial court did not, therefore, abuse its discretion by refusing to conduct an in camera review of all of the personnel files. OPINION:Griffith, J.; Worthen, CJ, Griffith and DeVasto, JJ.

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