38 CFR § 1.490 - Legal effect of order.
The records to which §§ 1.460 through 1.499 of this part apply may be disclosed if authorized by an appropriate order of a court of competent jurisdiction granted after application showing good cause therefore. In assessing good cause the court is statutorily required to weigh the public interest and the need for disclosure against the injury to the patient or subject, to the physician-patient relationship, and to the treatment services. Upon the granting of such order, the court, in determining the extent to which any disclosure of all or any part of any record is necessary, is required by statute to impose appropriate safeguards against unauthorized disclosure. An order of a court of competent jurisdiction to produce records subject to §§ 1.460 through 1.499 of this part will not be sufficient unless the order reflects that the court has complied with the requirements of 38 U.S.C. 7332(b)(2)(D). Such an order from a Federal court compels disclosure. However, such an order from a State court only acts to authorize the Secretary to exercise discretion pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 5701(b)(5) and 38 CFR 1.511 to disclose such records. It does not compel disclosure.