Jan 152010
 January 15, 2010  Posted by  Court, Featured News

Mike McKee reports:

Stanmore Cooper admits he shouldn’t have concealed his HIV status when filling out a medical form for pilots, but he was horrified when that information was freely shared among several federal agencies.

A sympathetic-sounding 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seemed ready Wednesday to let the San Francisco man proceed with a case that accuses the Federal Aviation Administration, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation and other federal agencies of violating the 36-year-old Privacy Act.. With some exceptions, that act forbids federal agencies from disclosing information gathered about individuals for one reason to other agencies to be used for an unrelated purpose.

The key issue for the three 9th Circuit judges hearing oral arguments Wednesday was whether the “actual damages” allowed for willful and intentional violations of the Privacy Act include non-pecuniary damages, such as those for emotional and mental distress. The federal agencies say they don’t.

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