- Associated Press - Friday, January 6, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Michael Brown’s parents must turn over his academic and certain medical records as part of their lawsuit over his 2014 Ferguson police shooting death, a federal judge has ruled, rejecting their claims that demands for such documents are harassing and invasive.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber’s sweeping order Wednesday also requires Michael Brown Sr. and Lezley McSpadden to turn over to the defendants’ attorneys their own medical records for the five years preceding the black, unarmed 18-year-old’s death. He ordered them to do so by Tuesday.

Brown’s parents argue they sustained permanent injuries, including mental anguish, over his death. But Webber ruled their medical records are among those needed by the city of Ferguson, the white officer who shot Brown and later resigned, and that officer’s former chief in calculating any potential damages.

“The court will not limit the medical records to treatment sought by the plaintiffs for damages specifically related to this matter because (the) defendants will need to evaluate whether the claimed injuries actually occurred as a result of the death of their son,” Webber wrote.

Brown’s parents have rebuffed the defense’s repeated demands for documents about their late son and themselves, insisting that such requests are harassing, invasive and overly broad. Webber concluded the parents failed to make that case with supportive facts or law.

“Repeatedly asserting the same objections to each request is not enough to protect against disclosure,” Webber wrote.

Brown’s parents argue in their lawsuit that the death of their son during a confrontation with then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson deprived them of financial support through his future potential wages. An attorney for the lawsuit’s defendants has countered that Brown’s lifelong medical records are relevant in determining his potential life expectancy and future income.

In her 2016 book, “Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil,” McSpadden acknowledged her son had high blood pressure, headaches, impaired vision and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In court filings, Brown’s parents have said these medical conditions “have no bearing on a person’s life expectancy.”

But while Webber concluded it’s not necessary for the lawsuit defendants to have Brown’s entire medical background, he still ordered the parents to turn over Brown’s health history from the time he was 10 years old until his death.

Webber also required the parents to release their tax returns since 2009, calling such records “a straightforward way” in assessing how their income has changed since Brown’s death. The parents also must reveal any income they received through sales of merchandise or memorabilia featuring their son’s likeness, as well as proceeds from any GoFundMe campaigns or other fundraisers linked to his death.

A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Wilson in Brown’s death. The shooting and the grand jury’s decision led to sometimes-violent protests in Ferguson and was a catalyst for the national Black Lives Matter movement. The U.S. Department of Justice also cleared Wilson, concluding he acted in self-defense.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide