Court orders Baylor to disclose confidential records

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman ordered Baylor to disclose information under limited conditions in Title IX lawsuits. Lariat File Photo

By Phoebe Suy | Staff Writer

Baylor lost its fight to prevent the disclosure of certain confidential medical and counseling records on Monday when U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman ordered the university to disclose information under limited conditions.

“The issues at stake in this action are indisputably important, and data regarding reports of sexual assault will play an important role in resolving Plaintiffs’ heightened-risk claims,” Pitman wrote in the order.

Pitman further stated it would be “virtually impossible” for the plaintiffs, 10 women who allege the university mishandled their sexual assault reports, to access the data otherwise.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys Jim Dunnam and Chad Dunn wrote in response to the order that student names “can be redacted of personally identifiable information.” Furthermore, private review of documents by the judge could be sought if Plaintiffs suspected Baylor concealed more than necessary.

“Such an approach carefully balances the needs of the parties, requirements of FERPA, the burden on Baylor and the privacy rights of protected students,” the plaintiffs’ response said.

Pitman ordered Baylor to disclose data within non-party medical records in a spreadsheet containing:

  • Each report of sexual assault made by a female student (gender limitation reduces burden, as Baylor’s health center sees between 6,800 and 7,800 patients each year)
  • Date of said report
  • Date of the assault, if known
  • Whether the alleged assailant was a Baylor student, if known
  • The sex of the alleged assailant, if known

The order specifically cites the disclosure of non-party medical records created after mid-2006, when the health center began electronic record-keeping.

As for counseling records, Pitman limited the production of non-party records to those created in 2009 or later with the following information in spreadsheet format:

  • Each report of sexual assault made by a female student
  • The date of said report
  • The date of the assault, if known
  • Whether the alleged assailant was a Baylor student, if known
  • The sex of the alleged assailant, if known

University spokesperson Lori Fogleman and attorney Jim Dunnam declined further comment on the court’s ruling.

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