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Workers' Compensation

Alaska: Employer Given Broad Access to Claimant's Mental Health Records

Construing Alaska Stat. §§ 23.30.107 and 23.30.107, the Supreme Court of Alaska held that with regard to an worker who had sought workers' compensation benefits, the employer was entitled to have access to the worker's mental health records reaching back to the worker's childhood in spite of the fact that her claim did not seek benefits for a mental injury. The Court stressed, however, that it was the Compensation Board's responsibility to impose reasonable limits on the information released. The worker slipped and fell in her employer's icy parking lot, sustaining a broken ankle. Three years later, the matter was still medically unresolved and the employer sought access to the worker's mental health records for the preceding 19 years because of her ongoing pain complaints. The high court acknowledged that because of the general complaints of pain put forward by the worker, her mental condition was relevant to the employer's defense. Still, the Court noted the Board the Board had failed to indicate why disclosure of counseling records that included notes and bills from when the worker was a minor and were related to childhood trauma would be necessary for evaluation of the compensability of her injury. The Board was required to place reasonable limits on the release of information.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Leigh v. Alaska Children’s Servs., 2020 Alas. LEXIS 78 (July 10, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 127.11.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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