April 11, 2019

Medical records related "solely to an employer's hiring practices" are not available to the applicant pursuant to New York's Public Health Law §18 unless necessary to make informed decisions concerning medical treatment


In this Article 78 proceeding the Plaintiff asked Supreme Court to [a] annul the New York-New Jersey Port Authority's [Authority] determination that he was not qualified to serve as a police officer in its public safety department in consideration of the results of his psychological evaluation and [b] to direct the Authority to provide him copies of all of its records related to his psychological evaluation.

Ultimately Supreme Court [a] granted the Authority's motion to dismiss that portion of Plaintiff's petition seeking to annul the Authority's rejection of Plaintiff for appointment as a police officer but [b] granted that portion of Plaintiff's petition seeking a court order requiring the Authority to provide him with "his psychometric testing results related to his psychological evaluation" pursuant to New York's Public Health Law §18.

The Authority appealed and the Appellate Division reversed that portion Supreme Court's judgment that ordered the release of the documents related to Plaintiff's psychometric testing results related to his psychological evaluation. The court explained that Plaintiff was not entitled to his psychometric testing results pursuant to §18 because §18 was intended to give individuals access to their medical records "to obtain necessary information about their medical treatment and condition and to make fully informed choices about their medical care."

Here, however, the court said that in this instance Plaintiff was not seeking to procure these psychological testing results as "necessary information about [his] medical treatment and condition . . . to make fully informed choices about [his] medical care."

Rather, opined the Appellate Division, the Authority's psychological testing results related "solely to its hiring practices," a wholly internal matter, which the Authority characterized as part of "the process used to recruit, screen, and evaluate candidates seeking to serve as police officers." The Appellate Division agreed with this characterization, commenting that this was "a quintessential example of an internal operation and a core employer-employee relations matter."

The court also took note that the Authority, as an interstate compact agency, is not subject to New York legislation governing its "internal operations," e.g. employer-employee relations, "unless both New York and New Jerseyhave enacted legislation providing that the same is applicable to The Port Authority, which is not the case here."

In contrast, however, the Appellate Division, citing Salvador-Pajaro v Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J., 52 AD3d 303, pointed out that although a bi-state entity, the Authority "is subject to New York's laws involving health and safety, insofar as its activities may externally affect the public."

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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