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Friday, November 26, 2010

A Wrongful Disclosure of Medical Information Held to Be Actionable

The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently issued its opinion in Doe v. Walgreens Co., No. W2009-02235-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 24, 2010). The case deals with the disclosure a customer's medical information; the customer was also an employee of Walgreens at the time of the wrongful disclosure and HIV positive. Here's the summary from the opinion's syllabus, to wit:

This is an appeal from the grant of Appellees/Defendants’ Tenn. R Civ. P 12.02 motion to dismiss. Appellant Jane Doe, who is HIV positive, was employed by Appellee Walgreens. In an effort to keep her medical condition private, Ms. Doe had her prescriptions filled at a Walgreens location other than the one at which she worked; therefore, Ms. Doe was also a customer of Walgreens. A co-worker of Ms. Doe’s accessed Ms. Doe’s prescription history in the Walgreens’ database, and then disseminated her medical information to other coworkers and to Ms. Doe’s fiancĂ©. Ms. Doe and her fiancĂ© filed suit. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, finding that the Does’ exclusive remedy was under the workers’ compensation act. Finding that the injuries sustained by Ms. Doe do not arise out of her employment with Walgreens, and that she has sufficiently pled causes of action outside workers’ compensation law, we reverse the order of dismissal and remand.
Here's a link to the opinion:

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