Courthouse News reports on the latest legal development in a lawsuit that started with a privacy breach in 2001 involving employees at the Federal Medical Center in Kentucky:
Staff members at a prison hospital in Kentucky might be entitled to more than $1,000 each for the breach of privacy that occurred when a federal investigator “inadvertently” left a folder containing their personal information, including addresses and Social Security numbers, on a desk where inmates could see it, the 6th Circuit ruled.
The federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld a lower court’s determination that the privacy breach had been “willful,” even though the agent’s final act of leaving the folder on a civilian worker’s desk was “inadvertent.”
While investigating unauthorized inmate computer use at a prison hospital’s UNICOR work facility, special investigative agent Walter Clint Jones left behind a green folder containing a roster of all Federal Medical Center employees’ names, addresses, Social Security numbers, home telephone numbers, pay grades and other personal information.
The case involves the Privacy Act of 1974 and also addresses the issues of compensation for “lost time” and “future protective measures.” Unlike most of the lawsuits we’ve seen where “lost time” is not recognized, it was in this case, although the plaintiffs lost on the issue of “future protective measures” as (1) there had been no demonstration of any harm to date, and (2) they would have to establish causation.
Previous coverage on PogoWasRight.org (archive).