Johnson v Superior Court, 80 Cal App 4th 1050

TitleJohnson v Superior Court, 80 Cal App 4th 1050
Publication TypeLegal Ruling
Year of Publication2000
Corporate AuthorsCalifornia. Court of Appeal, Second District
Rule Number95
Date of Code Edition2000
PublisherWests Calif Report
Document Number8750-2623
KeywordsAccess to Information, California, Confidentiality, Contracts, Disclosure, Humans, Insemination, Artificial, Heterologous, Liability, Legal, Male, Privacy, Sperm Banks, Spermatozoa, Tissue Donors

Court Decision: 95 California Reporter, 2d Series 864; 18 May 2000 (date of decision). The Court of Appeal, Second District held that parents and their child, conceived with sperm from an anonymous donor, could compel the donor's deposition and production of documents in an effort to discover information relevant to their action against the sperm bank, California Cryobank, Inc. Cryobank sold Diane and Ronald Johnson sperm that it falsely claimed was fully tested and genetically screened. The sperm, from donor John Doe, genetically transmitted a kidney disease to the Johnson's child. The Johnsons sought information and a deposition from Doe in their action against Cryobank; Doe refused. The court first held that communications between Cryobank and Doe were not protected under the physician-patient privilege because Doe was not a patient and he visited Cryobank with the sole purpose of selling his sperm. The court also found that the agreement between Cryobank and the Johnsons did not preclude the disclosure of Doe's identity under all circumstances because such preclusion is against public policy. Under state law, parties are allowed to inspect insemination records under certain circumstances. To prevent inspection under all circumstances conflicts with a compelling state interest in the health and welfare of children. Finally, the court did not find its holding in violation of Doe's right of privacy because, although Doe's medical records are protected under the right of privacy, compelling state interests in relevant disclosure in court proceedings, seeking the truth in court proceedings, and ensuring full redress of those injured override Doe's interest. The court specified that Doe's identity need not be automatically disclosed, and suggested the trial court construct an order protecting Doe's identity as much as possible.

AbbreviationWests Calif Report
Notify Library Reference ID1772