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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

13.83 MEDICAL EXAMINER DATA.
    Subdivision 1. Definition. As used in this section, "medical examiner data" means data
relating to deceased individuals and the manner and circumstances of their death which is created,
collected, used or maintained by a county coroner or medical examiner in the fulfillment of
official duties pursuant to chapter 390, or any other general or local law on county coroners or
medical examiners.
    Subd. 2. Public data. Unless specifically classified otherwise by state statute or federal law,
the following data created or collected by a medical examiner or coroner on a deceased individual
is public: name of the deceased; date of birth; date of death; address; sex; race; citizenship;
height; weight; hair color; eye color; build; complexion; age, if known, or approximate age;
identifying marks, scars and amputations; a description of the decedent's clothing; marital status;
location of death including name of hospital where applicable; name of spouse; whether or not
the decedent ever served in the armed forces of the United States; occupation; business; father's
name (also birth name, if different); mother's name (also birth name, if different); birthplace;
birthplace of parents; cause of death; causes of cause of death; whether an autopsy was performed
and if so, whether it was conclusive; date and place of injury, if applicable, including work
place; how injury occurred; whether death was caused by accident, suicide, homicide, or was
of undetermined cause; certification of attendance by physician; physician's name and address;
certification by coroner or medical examiner; name and signature of coroner or medical examiner;
type of disposition of body; burial place name and location, if applicable; date of burial, cremation
or removal; funeral home name and address; and name of local register or funeral director.
    Subd. 3. Unidentified individual; public data. A county coroner or medical examiner
unable during an investigation to identify a deceased individual, may release to the public any
relevant data which would assist in ascertaining identity.
    Subd. 4. Investigative data. Data created or collected by a county coroner or medical
examiner which is part of an active investigation mandated by chapter 390, or any other general
or local law relating to coroners or medical examiners is confidential data or protected nonpublic
data, until the completion of the coroner's or medical examiner's final summary of findings but
may be disclosed to a state or federal agency charged by law with investigating the death of
the deceased individual about whom the medical examiner or coroner has medical examiner
data. Upon completion of the coroner's or medical examiner's final summary of findings, the
data collected in the investigation and the final summary of it are private or nonpublic data.
However, if the final summary and the record of death indicate the manner of death is homicide,
undetermined, or pending investigation and there is an active law enforcement investigation,
within the meaning of section 13.82, subdivision 7, relating to the death of the deceased
individual, the data remain confidential or protected nonpublic. Upon review by the county
attorney of the jurisdiction in which the law enforcement investigation is active, the data may be
released to persons described in subdivision 8 if the county attorney determines release would not
impede the ongoing investigation. When the law enforcement investigation becomes inactive, the
data are private or nonpublic data. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to make not
public the data elements identified in subdivision 2 at any point in the investigation or thereafter.
    Subd. 5. Other data on deceased individuals. All other medical examiner data on deceased
individuals are nonpublic and shall not be disclosed except:
(1) pursuant to the provisions of chapter 390, or any other general or local law on county
coroners or medical examiners;
(2) to a state or federal agency charged by law with investigating the death of the deceased
individual about whom the medical examiner or coroner has medical examiner data; or
(3) pursuant to a valid court order.
    Subd. 6. Classification of other data. Unless a statute specifically provides a different
classification, all other data created or collected by a county coroner or medical examiner that
is not data on deceased individuals or the manner and circumstances of their death is public
pursuant to section 13.03.
    Subd. 7. Court review. Any person may petition the district court located in the county
where medical examiner data is being maintained to authorize disclosure of nonpublic, protected
nonpublic, or confidential medical examiner data. The petitioner shall notify the medical examiner
or coroner. The court may notify other interested persons and require their presence at a hearing.
A hearing may be held immediately if the parties agree, and in any event shall be held as soon
as practicable. After examining the data in camera, the court may order disclosure of the data if
it determines that disclosure would be in the public interest.
    Subd. 8. Access to nonpublic data. The data made nonpublic by this section are accessible
to the physician who attended the decedent at the time of death, the legal representative of the
decedent's estate and to the decedent's surviving spouse, parents, children, and siblings and
their legal representatives.
    Subd. 9. Change in classification. Data classified as nonpublic, protected nonpublic, or
confidential by this section shall be classified as public 30 years after the date of death of the
decedent.
    Subd. 10. Classification of certain medical examiner and coroner data. Data described
in sections 383B.225, subdivision 6, 390.11, subdivision 7, and 390.32, subdivision 6, shall
be classified as described therein.
History: 1981 c 311 s 24,39; 1982 c 545 s 24; 1985 c 298 s 37; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 49 s
1; 1989 c 175 s 2; 1990 c 573 s 13-17; 1991 c 319 s 11-13; 1995 c 29 s 1,2; 1995 c 259 art 1 s
24; 1Sp2001 c 9 art 15 s 32