Dec 012009
 December 1, 2009  Posted by  Court

Janet L. Conley provides commentary and analysis of a recent court decision involving a man publicly named as having tuberculosis who alleged privacy violations by the CDC:

Andrew H. Speaker, the lawyer who made headlines when he took a trans-Atlantic commercial flight while infected with a rare strain of tuberculosis, probably lost his bid to hold the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention liable for federal privacy act violations because of relatively new case law that changed the standard for dismissal on the eve of Speaker’s filing.

That standard, which limits notice pleadings by requiring them to contain specific factual allegations, was one Speaker failed to meet, according to an opinion and order handed down Nov. 23 by Judge William S. Duffey Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.


The language in Duffey’s opinion is drawn directly from two recent U.S. Supreme Court cases. The first is Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007); the second — a case decided just a month after Speaker filed his action against the CDC — is Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009).

Jones characterized the two decisions this way: “Mr. Speaker’s case is the latest victim of Twombly/Iqbal.”


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