A trial court shall not sustain a motion for summary judgment unless, when the evidence is construed most strongly against the moving party, reasonable minds can come to but one conclusion and that conclusion is adverse to the party against whom the motion for summary judgment is made. Ohio R. Civ. P. 56(C). Thus, if a trial court determines that there is a genuine issue of material fact, it will not sustain a summary judgment motion.
The inmate filed a complaint alleging the prison, a prison employee, and an assistant attorney general, for improperly invading his privacy. The inmate maintained that his hospital records were illegally used as part of a summary judgment motion filed in a United States district court. The trial court sustained the prison's motion for summary judgment and the case was appealed.
Was the summary judgment proper?
The court affirmed the trial court, holding that the inmate did not demonstrate that genuine issues of fact for trial existed. The assistant attorney general, in an affidavit, stated that in order to analyze the validity of the inmate's claim, it was necessary to request a summary of his medical records, which were relevant and material to his case. Ohio Admin. Code § 5120-9-49(F) provided that non-public records of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction could have been made available to other persons with a need for access to such documents. The prison employee was responsible for maintaining and handling inmate medical records. Since that was definitely his responsibility, he did not need special authorization to release the inmate's records. Therefore, he did not act outside the scope of his authority.