A New Jersey federal court has granted Gerber’s motion to compel discovery of medical records in a consumer putative class action alleging that the company misrepresented its probiotic formula as capable of improving infant immune systems. In re Gerber Probiotic Sales Practices Litig., No. 12-835 (D.N.J., order entered April 10, 2015).
Gerber requested medical records for the children who ingested the products, but the plaintiffs objected that the “overly broad” request violated their rights of privacy and that the records were subject to physician-patient privilege. The court agreed with Gerber, finding “a legitimate need for medical records as there is no other source that could test the actual effectiveness of the products that claim to produce immune system health. Proof in the form of scientific studies and expert testimony may not be sufficient,” the court said, so “actual facts or the lack thereof may be essential.” Further, the medical records are relevant to the effectiveness of the products and no other source could accurately provide objective medical information, the court found.