Good post at the always interesting blog, Spam Notes here on a disappointing ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejecting veterans’ claims under the Privacy Act. I had missed the original opinion–here is a link to the slip opinion in Perkins v. Department of Veterans’ Affairs
The facts of the case echo our pending class action against the Providence System here in Oregon over the loss of unencrypted patient records. But there’s an important legal difference. In Perkins, the veterans sought relief under the federal Privacy Act. The Court decided the case under that statute and federal law.
The proposed class action in the Providence case arises under Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act and on a negligence theory based on Oregon common law rules. Oregon law provides that disclosures of medical records give rise to a claim because of the special relationship between physician and patient. The ruling in Perkins didn’t address these different theories.
We’re still awaiting a ruling from the Oregon Court of Appeals on whether the Oregon case can go forward. I argued the Providence appeal back in April. No telling when we’ll get a ruling.