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Or. Health & Sci. Univ. v. Oregonian Publ. Co., LLC

Supreme Court of Oregon

March 3, 2017, Argued and submitted; October 19, 2017, Decided

SC S064249

Opinion

 [**733]  [*70]   BREWER, S. J.

This case concerns a public records request made by defendant [***2]  Oregonian Publishing Company, LLC (The Oregonian), a newspaper, to plaintiff Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU), a public health and research university that provides patient care at its hospital, conducts research, and educates health care professionals and scientists. The circuit court ordered OHSU to disclose the requested record, and OHSU appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded to the circuit court to examine the public records at issue and then determine whether state and federal exemptions permitted OHSU to withhold some of the requested information. On review, the issues have narrowed to whether the requested record contains "protected health information" and student "education records" under federal and Oregon law and, if so, whether that information nonetheless must be disclosed pursuant to ORS 192.420(1), a provision of the Oregon Public Records Law (OPRL).3

For the reasons explained below, we conclude that the requested record contains protected health information and that ORS 192.420(1) does not require the disclosure of that information. In the absence of adequately developed arguments, we decline to consider whether the part of the requested record consisting of tort claim notices [***3]  filed by students contains "education records," and, if so, whether those records are exempt from disclosure. We therefore leave undisturbed the Court of Appeals' disposition of that issue, which was to remand to the circuit court for examination of the tort claim notices.

Accordingly, we reverse in part and affirm in part the decision of the Court of Appeals, we reverse the judgment of the circuit court and its supplemental judgment awarding attorney fees and costs to The Oregonian, and  [**734]  we remand to the circuit court for further proceedings.

 [*71]  I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

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362 Ore. 68 *; 403 P.3d 732 **; 2017 Ore. LEXIS 770 ***; 45 Media L. Rep. 2564

OREGON HEALTH AND SCIENCE UNIVERSITY, a public corporation, Respondent on Review, v. OREGONIAN PUBLISHING COMPANY, LLC, a domestic limited liability company, Petitioner on Review.

Prior History: CC 111216443; CA A152961. On review from the Court of Appeals. [***1] 1

Or. Health & Sci. Univ. v. Oregonian Publ'g. Co., LLC, 278 Ore. App. 189, 373 P.3d 1233, 2016 Ore. App. LEXIS 578 (May 11, 2016)

Disposition: The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed in part and affirmed in part. The judgment of the circuit court and the supplemental judgment awarding attorney fees and costs to The Oregonian are reversed, and the case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings.

CORE TERMS

disclosure, health information, exempt, HIPAA, Privacy, patient, tort claim, notices, requested records, claimant, public record, records, confidentiality, disclose, circuit court, request information, required by law, state law, healthcare, covered entity, alleged tort, public body, authorization, regulations, redacted, disclosure requirements, mental health, federal law, protections, public records request

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Motions for Summary Judgment, Cross Motions, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Administrative Law, Governmental Information, Freedom of Information, Defenses & Exemptions From Public Disclosure, Business & Corporate Compliance, Healthcare Law, Medical Treatment, Patient Confidentiality, Defenses & Exemptions From Public Disclosure, Medical & Personnel Files, Enforcement, Burdens of Proof