Attorneys for Dr. James G. Corasanti on Monday were denied access to the medical and professional counseling records of the late Alexandria “Alix” Rice.
State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski’s ruling sends the dispute over the records to a higher court and further delays the start of the civil proceedings in connection with the July 2011 death of the 18-year-old longboarder in an Amherst hit-and-run incident.
Michalski also declined to dismiss the claims for punitive damages filed against the doctor by the Rice’s family in the wrongful-death lawsuit.
The judge agreed with Terrence M. Connors, chief attorney for the Rice family, that Alix Rice’s records should not be released “due to the sensitive nature of the records” under the state mental hygiene law and routine doctor-patient privilege concerns.
Attorneys for Corsanti, 58, of Getzville, have been pressing for the records to prepare for trial.
The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court must now hold a hearing in the dispute.
Connors told The Buffalo News on Monday: “We will be asking the appellate court to expedite the hearing so we can get the matter to trial.”
The trial had been tentatively scheduled to begin in March, but that will now be delayed because of the appeals process.
In May 2012, Corsanti was convicted of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated but acquitted by an Erie County Court jury of manslaughter in the case for hitting Rice and driving off without coming to her aid. He was released from the Erie County Correctional Facility after serving eight months of the one-year jail term imposed by Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio. The judge imposed the maximum-allowable sentence on the misdemeanor conviction, but under the good-time law, Corsanti had to serve only eight months.