John Doe A v. Penn State
First Penn State scandal lawsuit says Coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a boy more than 100 times and the abuse was enabled by the school's "negligent oversight."
Bradley v. Lohan
Former Betty Ford Center employee sues Lindsay Lohan for assault, alleging the actress threw a phone at her and yanked her wrist while refusing to be breathalzyed.
N.D. v. New York Post
Hotel maid allegedly raped by French politician sues the New York Post for falsely reporting that she is a prostitute who "routinely traded sex for money" with male guests.
Reinhart v. Mortenson
Two Montana residents allege the author of "Three Cups of Tea" "fabricated material about his activities and work in Pakistan and Afghanistan" to sell the book.
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• Maryland appeals court says dog owners can be held strictly liable for pit bull attacks. "Because of its aggressive and vicious nature and its capability to inflict serious and sometimes fatal injuries, pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are inherently dangerous." Tracey v. Solesky

• Woman who has been diagnosed as a sex addict sues a school district for failing to prevent her from having sex with male students on the school bus when she was in 11th grade.
Barksdale v. Egg Harbor Township Bd. of Ed.

• Civil rights activist challenges Georgia's "stand your ground law." "By not defining what actions create a reasonable perception justifying the use of deadly force, the Act[] potentially deprives all Georgia[n]s of the right to life without due process of law." Hutchins v. Deal

• Former patient of a Rhode Island doctor sues him for featuring her in a book about drug addiction. "Plaintiff had expected, as any reasonable patient would, that her private conversations during her treatment sessions with the Defendant would remain private and confidential."
Lisnoff v. Stein

• Class action alleges the YMCA deceives consumers by representing that it practices "Christian" values while allowing its gyms to be used for gay sex trysts. "YMCAs around the country ... are currently being used as brothels for cruising, with the YMCA's knowledge and implicit consent."
Keister v. YMCA

• Social workers are not liable for a sexual assault on a 5-year-old boy by a 16-year-old male placed in an adoptive home. "To rule against the individual defendants in this case would definitely break new ground."
Doe v. Braddy

• Student sues college for refusing to grant her the "reasonable accommodation" of a single room after she complained about her roommate's exhibitionist behavior.
Blankmeyer v. Stonehill College

• School district can be sued over a guidance counselor's sexual relationship with a student who was over the age of consent. "The inherent imbalance of power between a guidance counselor in a public school and a student may render opportunistic sexual predation sufficiently shocking, even with a 'consenting' student over sixteen, to form the basis of a substantive due process claim."
Doe v. Fournier

• Utah judge finds a "credible threat" that Utah County officials will prosecute a polygamist and his wives for bigamy. The officials' acts "suggest that an actual prosecution of Plaintiffs is forthcoming."
Brown v. Herbert

• Louisville, Ky., strip club sues a competitor for displaying an electronic sign outside a convention center that said "Don't go to Godfathers, their girls are ugly and have crabs."
The Godfather v. Trixie's Lounge

• A lawyer cannot sue two women he dated for posting derogatory comments about him on liarscheatersrus.com. "[W]hen viewed within the larger context of the website on which they were posted, there can be no doubt that a reasonable reader would understand the comments to be opinion." Coulotte v. Ryncarz

• Oglala Sioux tribe sues beer makers and Whiteclay, Neb., bars for enabling alcohol abuse on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The illegal trade in alcohol has "caused devastating injuries to the Lakota people and massive financial damages to the [tribe]."
Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Schwarting




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Paramedic Sued for MySpace Posting about Rape Print

myspaceIn what may be the first case of a health provider breaching confidentiality on MySpace, a Portland, Ore., rape victim has sued an ambulance paramedic who published details of the crime after transporting her to the hospital.

Simon Green was a member of an American Medical Response paramedic team that attended to the victim on Feb. 15. She had been raped and beaten by a stranger at her Southeast Portland apartment.

Oregon law protects “information of a personal nature such as ... that kept in a personal, medical or similar file” from public disclosure. But in a March 4 posting on his MySpace page, Green recalled how he had taken “a lady our age to the hospital after being raped at knife point, by a caucasian [sic] male of average build.”

While the paramedic did not disclose the victim's name or exact address, he provided the approximate location of the rape and detailed her description of the assailant. “All told he was in her apartment about an hour, and this very pretty, otherwise normal woman's life is irrepprably [sic] changed,” he said.

As a result of the posting, the woman alleges, “the media contacted [her] to question her about the assault” and she has suffered emotional distress and other damages of at least $1 million.

Green breached his duty to “protect the plaintiff from the unauthorized disclosure of her protected health information,” the complaint says, while his employer is liable for negligent hiring, training and supervision.

The fact that the media found the victim suggests Green disclosed enough in his posting to make her identifiable. And Oregon lists “emergency medical technician” among the health care providers covered by its “protected health information” law.

But some courts have declined to extend the physician-patient privilege to communications between a paramedic and a patient. Since ambulance technicians are not “physicians,” the Louisiana Supreme Court said in Med-Express v. Tarpley, 629 So.2d 331 (1993),

there is no privilege as to any type of communication made to them by the injured party nor as to any observations they may have made about the injured party's condition.

In Shulman v. Group W Productions, 51 Cal.App.4th 850 (1986), the California Court of Appeals found that a nurse on an airborne rescue team did not violate the physician-patient privilege because there was no evidence she “was working as the agent for or under the supervision of any physician while the rescue was in progress.”

Green could also raise the defense that his disclosures served the public's interest in crime prevention. “My advice: fight,” he recommended in his posting. “It's only a knife, and any rapist is a coward who will probably turn tail at any resistance.”

The case may turn out to be one of the more significant of at least 17 MySpace-related suits (see table) that have been filed in the past year or so.

This story linked by:


By Matthew Heller
4/30/07

 

 

Editor's note: On Point's RSS feed has moved to this link.

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