In re: Petition for Enforcement of Subpoenas Issued by the Hearing Examiner in a Proceeding Before the Board of Medicine
(Pa. Supreme Ct. 2019)

After the Commonwealth Court granted a physician’s petition to enforce subpoenas issued in a disciplinary proceeding that were directed to other providers’ care of the physician’s former patient, the patient sought BLF’s assistance to prevent disclosure of their confidential health care information.

When the Commonwealth Court denied reconsideration of its order, BLF attorney A. Richard Feldman appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  BLF argued that the Commonwealth Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the petition to enforce subpoenas, because this was not an action by or against a Commonwealth party, the Commonwealth agency was not an indispensable party, and the statute under which the subpoenas were issued does not give private parties the right to apply to Commonwealth Court for subpoena enforcement. 

On August 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a 6-1 opinion concluding that the Commonwealth Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enforce the subpoenas, and vacated the order below.

BLF attorneys Michael Harris and Lisa Barton also participated in the research and briefing of this appeal.

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