against the medical defendants where medical examinations were performed relating to pending litigation.
Plaintiffs executed a settlement and release in their initial lawsuit. In consideration of $250,000, plaintiffs agreed to waive all claims against Hess Oil and Dennie's employer, Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, Ltd. The release further waived all claims against Chicago Bridge's "assigns, and/or their heirs, executors, and administrators, and also any and all other persons, associations and corporations, whether herein named or referred to or not. . . ."
The Dennies argue that the injuries in the instant case are distinct from the injuries complained of in the initial case, and that fraud is a basis for avoiding the release. Plaintiffs' Brief at pps. 8-10. The only arguable injury arising from the instant case is the "substantial monetary damages" suffered by plaintiffs in settling the initial case for $250,000. Complaint at paragraphs 19, 28, 44. The other alleged injuries -- physical pain, mental stress, lost earnings, depressed moods and damage to family and marital relationships -- are based on alleged radiation-induced illness, the subject of the initial civil action.
We find that plaintiffs' arguments are unpersuasive, given the nature of the claims against the medical defendants. Although plaintiffs complain of fraud in the inducement of the settlement agreement, they have chosen not to rescind the agreement, but to retain the settlement and pursue other defendants for compensation for the same injuries. Such strategy is not countenanced under Pennsylvania or Virgin Islands law. Where the release manifests an intent to settle all accounts, the release will be given full effect even as to unknown claims, unless the release itself is upset due to fraud. Polsky v. Radio Shack, 666 F.2d 824 (3d Cir. 1981); Wolbach v. Fay, 488 Pa. 239, 412 A.2d 487 (1980); Reed, Wible and Brown v. Mahogany Run Development Corp., 550 F. Supp. 1095 (D.V.I. 1982). See also the opinion of this court in Schulzendorf v. Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad Co., 640 F. Supp. 40 (W.D.Pa. 1986).
Because the settlement agreement discharges all claims arising from the initial lawsuit and releases all associates of Chicago Bridge, which must include the instant defendants, we hold that the instant claims for breach of contract, fraud and violation of right to privacy must be dismissed. Our resolution of defendants' motion for summary judgment precludes consideration of arguments based on statutes of limitations, collateral estoppel, choice of law, state action and questions arising from the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(5), and relevant regulations.
Summary judgment will be granted to defendants on all three counts. We hold that plaintiffs waived all physician-patient privileges to confidentiality of medical records by filing the initial personal injury suit. We further hold that any contractual right to confidentiality arising from the consent form is overcome by the initial defendants' right to discover relevant medical information. Finally, we hold that all claims against the medical defendants, who were retained by opposing counsel in the initial lawsuit, must be dismissed because the claims were discharged in a settlement agreement.
A written order will follow.
ORDER OF COURT
AND NOW, this 1st day of July 1986,
IT IS ORDERED that defendants' motion for summary judgment be and hereby is granted.
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