Rule 502 Required reports privileged by statute. A person, corporation, association, or other organization or entity, either public or private, making a return or report required by law to be made has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing the return or report, if the law requiring it to be made so provides. A public officer or agency to whom a return or report is required by law to be made has a privilege to refuse to disclose the return or report if the law requiring it to be made so provides. No privilege exists under this rule in actions involving perjury, false statements, fraud in the return or report, or other failure to comply with the law in question. [L 1980, c 164, pt of 1]

 

RULE 502 COMMENTARY

 

This rule is identical with the U.S. Supreme Court's proposed Rule 502, see Rules of Evidence for U.S. Courts and Magistrates as promulgated by the U.S. Supreme Court, 28 App. U.S. Code Service, App. 6 (1975). A number of Hawaii statutes requiring that reports be made or information be supplied incorporate provisions against unauthorized disclosure of such reports or information. This has the effect of creating a qualified privilege for the reporting party and for the recipient on the reporting party's behalf.

Characteristic of such privilege provisions are those found in statutes dealing with social services, vital statistics, health, and motor vehicle safety. See, e.g., Hawaii Rev. Stat. 346-10 (Supp. 1979), which provides for confidentiality of records maintained by the Department of Social Services and Housing; Hawaii Rev. Stat. 334-5 (1976), which provides for qualified confidentiality of mental health records; Hawaii Rev. Stat. 324-23 (1976), which limits the use in legal proceedings of reports and information made to the Hawaii Tumor Registry; and Hawaii Rev. Stat. 287-14 (1976), which establishes a privilege against disclosure of certain motor vehicle accident reports in civil actions to recover damages.

 

 

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