Martin & Seibert, L.C.

June 16, 2010

      In a case successfully litigated by this firm, the West Virginia Supreme Court today held a circuit court may not issue a protective order directing an insurance company to return or destroy a claimant's medical records prior to the time period set forth by West Virginia Insurance Commissioner regulations for the retention of such records. 


            In State ex rel. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v Bedell, (No. 35514,, filed June 16, 2010),  State Farm sought and obtained a writ of prohibition against an Order entered in the Circuit Court of Harrison County which prohibited State Farm from electronically maintaining its records and which called for the return or destruction of a plaintiff’s medical records at the conclusion of the case.  In rejecting both portions of the Order, the Supreme Court held State Farm could not destroy records at the conclusion of the case as such would place it in violation of its regulator’s rules. The Court also validated the company's use of an electronic claim file system.


            The case was argued by E. Kay Fuller, the firm's director of litigation. Ms. Fuller has litigated a number of privacy cases arguing for an appropriate balance between individual rights of privacy and the necessary receipt of confidential information in business transactions.  The full opinion can be viewed at

Martin & Seibert, L.C.

Attorneys At Law

PO Box, 1286, 1453 Winchester Avenue, Martinsburg, WV 25405

Phone: (304) 262-3288  |  Fax: (304) 267- 0731