We are still discussing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision about the Privacy Act and its waiver of sovereign immunity. The plaintiff sued a handful of federal agencies when his HIV status was made public; the agencies had shared information about him, including his application for Social Security disability benefits. In the majority opinion, the court focused on the act allowing individuals to file civil actions if they suffered "actual damages" because of an agency's violation.
The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in a Privacy Act case has caused a stir among consumer advocates and in legal circles. The plaintiff accused the Federal Aviation Administration, the Social Security Administration and the United States Department of Transportation of violating the Privacy Act when the agencies shared information about his Social Security long-term disability benefits. As we said in our last post, the majority decision turned on the Privacy Act's use of the term "actual damages."
We are picking up our discussion from earlier this month of a U.S. Supreme Court case that provoked some strong feelings for commentators. As we explained in our April 5 post, the case was brought by a man whose HIV status became public knowledge at the hands of the federal government.
We are continuing our discussion of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The case started with a man, HIV-positive and near death, applying for Social Security disability benefits. It ended with a majority decision that the Privacy Act does not allow damages for mental and emotional distress claims.
The U.S. Supreme Court has handed down a decision that reinforces the doctrine of sovereign immunity, even when questions of private health data are concerned. The case specifically addresses the provisions of the federal Privacy Act, but it started with a terrible diagnosis and a claim for long-term disability benefits.