Neurologist’s Recommendation that DMV Reinstate Epileptic’s License Is Privileged

Plaintiffs who were severely injured in a car collision with a driver who suffered an epileptic seizure while driving sued the driver and his neurologist, alleging that the neurologist had recommended to the DMV that the driver’s previously suspended license be reinstated. The license had been suspended because of previous seizure activity. The recommendation to reinstate was based on the driver’s report of no seizures for ten months. The driver, who had been a patient of the defendant neurologist’s for several years, had a history of seizure activity and noncompliance with medication requirements. Prior to recommending reinstatement of the license, the neurologist did not obtain lab tests verifying medication compliance. The plaintiffs’ claim was based on the DMV evaluation report and treatment of the driver prior to making the report. The trial court granted the neurologist’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the complaint was based on a privileged document.


The appellate court affirmed, holding that the neurologist’s report to the DMV was protected by the California privilege for publications made as part of a judicial proceeding because it was prepared for use in a quasi-judicial setting by a government agency for purposes of evaluation of the driving status of the driver. The court further affirmed the trial court’s reasoning that any allegations in the complaint based on the neurologist’s treatment of the driver prior to preparing the DMV evaluation were barred because the treatment prior to that date constituted statements preliminary to or in anticipation of the DMV hearing. Cang Wang v. Heck, 2012 WL 207034 (Cal.App. 2 Dist. Jan 25, 2012) (not designated for publication).