Posts Tagged ‘lawyering vs. privacy’

“No, Your Medical Records Are Not Private”

HIPAA or no HIPAA, a variety of government agencies might get a look at your personal medical records. “HIPAA allows federal bureaucrats to get patient records merely by issuing administrative subpoenas, or civil investigative demands.” The records may also find their way into the hands of private lawyers, such as those representing qui tam relators under the False Claims Act. “‘Everybody’s got horror stories for what happens when the relators get into their stuff,’ said Jonathan Diesenhaus, a former DOJ senior trial lawyer who now represents health care companies as a partner with the Hogan Lovells law firm, to TheDCNF. ‘It becomes an avenue for abuse.'” [Kathryn Watson, Daily Caller]

LinkedIn class action settlement

On Oct. 2 “millions of LinkedIn users received an email titled ‘LEGAL NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION.’ The email told recipients about a proposed class action settlement in Perkins v. LinkedIn, involving ‘LinkedIn’s alleged improper use of a service called “Add Connections” to grow its member base.’ …Communicating with a large class of millions of victims is never easy, but this particular notification was handled particularly poorly. Let me highlight six problems with the notification….If the sender’s goal is to reduce the number of people who open the email, late Friday afternoon is a fine choice.” [Eric Goldman/Forbes] More: Coyote (“You Want to Know Why the Legal System is Broken?”)

The press and the prosecutors

Did federal prosecutors manipulate Los Angeles Times reporting to help win a case? Even if editors don’t care, readers might [Ken White, Popehat]. Read the whole thing, but here’s one choice quote:

The problem illuminated here isn’t just one of possible government misconduct. It’s the too-cozy too-credulous relationship between law enforcement and the press, and the very questionable decisions the press makes about what is a story. I’ve been writing about this for some time. The press thinks that a picture of a guy being perp-walked is a story, but the willingness of the cops to stage that picture to humiliate the defendant is not a story. The press thinks that juicy evidence against a defendant is a story but law enforcement’s motive in leaking that evidence isn’t. When the people sworn to uphold the law, who are prosecuting someone for violating the law, break the law to damage a defendant, the press thinks that the leaked information is the story, not the lawbreaking by law enforcers. The press does not, as far as I can tell, assess when it is being used as a tool by law enforcement. How could it, if it wants to preserve its source of tasty leaks?

“As a university employee, my personal experience with Title IX…”

“As a university employee, my personal experience with Title IX has been discouraging, frustrating, alienating. I have been recruited to join complaints against male colleagues, most recently against someone with whom I was friends outside of our workplace. I have, when I refused to be a complainant, been interviewed as a witness. I have, when interviewed as a witness, been grilled over a multitude of conversations and social interactions that took place away from campus, in the company of adults, that I never expected that I would one day have to explain in a formal setting. …

“Title IX doesn’t make me feel safer. It makes me feel paranoid. I can hardly imagine how much more paranoid it makes my male colleagues.” [Tamara Tabo, Above the Law]

Fourth Circuit ruling in social anxiety disorder ADA case

A deputy clerk of court in North Carolina allegedly suffered from social anxiety disorder, characterized (per the DSM) as “marked and persistent fear of … social or performance situations in which [a] person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others.” While these fears led her to request to be insulated from customer service responsibilities, they did not inhibit her from secretly tape recording interviews with four supervisors involved with her firing. Reversing a lower court, the Fourth Circuit allowed her ADA accommodation claims to go forward in what Robert Fitzpatrick calls a “remarkable, and potentially far-reaching decision.” Excerpts from Fitzpatrick’s account:

Similarly, in a footnote, the Court indicated that if the plaintiff, took longer than necessary to complete her microfilming work and procrastinated in returning to the front desk, as the defense had alleged, “this may constitute avoidant behavior consistent with a diagnosis of social anxiety disorder.”

The court also reasoned that because the employer, on top of the various reasons it cited in firing her, later cited additional grounds for firing when the case reached a judge, this suspicious “piling on” could be read as evidence of pretext.

February 19 roundup

  • Sheldon Silver’s law firm reportedly loses its special status in courts [New York Post] “Ex-congresswoman could get payout from court tied to Silver” [same; former Rep. Carolyn McCarthy]
  • “High School Teacher With Fear of Young Children Loses Disability-Bias Case” [EdWeek, h/t @aaronworthing]
  • “Worth remembering that, if they had the power in the 1980s, the public health lobby would have forced us to eat a diet they now say is bad.” [Christopher Snowdon, earlier]
  • Numbers confirm that AG Eric Holder’s forfeiture reform won’t directly affect great majority of cases [Institute for Justice via Jacob Sullum, earlier]
  • Despite curiously thin evidence that they work, bans on texting while driving roll on, including Mississippi [Steve Wilson, Watchdog, thanks for quote, earlier here, etc.] Draft Ohio bill has numerous troubling features, including broad bar on future technologies, vague distraction ban, stiffer penalties without judicial discretion, mandatory court dates for minor offenses [Maggie Thurber, Ohio Watchdog, thanks for quote]
  • Cop’s defense in sex assault of teen: he “[had] money problems and a bad guy scared [him]” [Trumbull, Ct.; Scott Greenfield, Connecticut Post]
  • “Dance like no one is watching; email like it may one day be read aloud in a deposition.” [Olivia Nuzzi]