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ESPN, Schefter claim Jason Pierre-Paul authorized the release of his medical records, sort of

FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2016, file photo, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) talks to teammate Olivier Vernon (54) as they walk off the field after the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. After having the NFL’s worst defense last season, the Giants have the potential to make big strides. They open the season Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File) AP

Now that the efforts of ESPN and Adam Schefter to dismiss the lawsuit filed against them by Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul for publishing his medical records has failed, the litigation will proceed. It proceeds, as all litigation does following the failure of a motion to dismiss it, with a formal “answer” to the initial complaint filed by the plaintiff.

An answer consists of a paragraph-by-paragraph response to the allegations of the complaint, with the defendants admitting the allegations made against them, denying the allegations, or explaining that they currently lack the information necessary to admit or deny the allegations.

Rarely if ever does a defendant admit enough of the allegations to win (or as the case may be lose) the case. If the facts were that clear, the case would have settled before that point — or it would have been dismissed based on legal arguments that point to a win for the defendants even if the facts as alleged are true.

Following the point-by-point admit/deny/don’t know portion of the answer comes what the legal system calls “affirmative defenses.” It’s typically a laundry list of all potential arguments that could arise during the course of preparing the case for trial that would support an effort by the defendants to say, basically, “What you’re claiming may be true, but we still should win because of ___________.”

In this case, ESPN and Schefter claim that Pierre-Paul “authorized” the publication of his medical records. Which means, technically, that he gave the green light to the disclosure of his medical records to Schefter, and that Pierre-Paul likewise agreed to allow Schefter to publish the medical records to his Twitter following. If true, it makes me wonder why the litigation even exists.

Chances are it’s not true, but that the lawyers have opted to include that potential defense in the event they trip over evidence that could support making this argument with a straight face. In order to prevent Pierre-Paul’s lawyers from later saying, “Because you didn’t raise that as an affirmative defense in your answer, you waived it,” ESPN and Schefter needed to raise it now.

ESPN and Schefter also claim that the “release of graphic images of his medical condition to Sports Illustrated” operates as a defense to the argument that ESPN and Schefter impermissibly obtained and published his medical records. But this case doesn’t seem to be about the fact that Pierre-Paul lost a finger (and more) as a result of a fireworks accident or that he chose to eventually share what his hand looked like following the incident and surgery. It’s about obtaining and publishing someone’s medical records, regardless of the condition they reflect or the subsequent decision of the plaintiff to later share information about the condition.

The case will now proceed with the discovery process, during which Pierre-Paul, Schefter, and others will be questioned under oath as the two sides gather all relevant evidence and prepare for, first, another effort by ESPN and Schefter to win the case without going to trial (via a “motion for summary judgment”) and, second, trial in August 2017.

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28 Responses to “ESPN, Schefter claim Jason Pierre-Paul authorized the release of his medical records, sort of”
  1. Judge Smails says: Sep 15, 2016 1:52 PM

    Schef used to be a good reporter, but once he signed off his brain with BSPN, he’s taken a sad turn into a media schill and troll. No wonder the mothership is sinking faster than the hindenburg. Schef should excuse himself from the airwaves and start picking up garbage as community service

    I hope JPP bankrupts him and BSPN.

  2. sdchicken says: Sep 15, 2016 1:59 PM

    Unbelievable. So slimy and disgraceful Shefter

  3. mongo3401 says: Sep 15, 2016 2:01 PM

    LOL no offense but that made my head spin.

  4. sigbouncer says: Sep 15, 2016 2:05 PM

    I’ve always maintained Shefter is a weenie ever since I saw him duck and run from a misguided pass on the sidelines in his first or second year on the job at NFL Network years ago.

  5. harrisonhits2 says: Sep 15, 2016 2:05 PM

    bspn the worldwide joke of sportscasting

    Lies, fabrications, plagiarism, just the normal day to day operations of these bottom feeders.

  6. trailerparkking says: Sep 15, 2016 2:05 PM

    Just own it you little weasel! I’m so sick of our excuse making culture. I respect those who own their mistakes and move on. Accountability seemingly no longer exists in America and it’s rubbing off on the younger generation.

  7. chicagosportsfan11 says: Sep 15, 2016 2:06 PM

    I can’t until JPP makes BANK off these unethical weasels.

  8. terrier92 says: Sep 15, 2016 2:08 PM

    I really hope he really hammers these NFL shills in court.

  9. jxt2521 says: Sep 15, 2016 2:11 PM

    Clowns like Shefter should just give the agents, executives and players they are a puppet for the password to his twitter account to save time.

  10. ChickenTurkeySaurus says: Sep 15, 2016 2:14 PM

    I think JPP would prevail if this case were to go through trial (it won’t, it will settle before then so ESPN can save face), but he is going to have a heck of a time proving up any damages.

  11. glaedrfly says: Sep 15, 2016 2:14 PM

    Blah, blah. Why did the hospital release the records?

  12. RegisHawk says: Sep 15, 2016 2:21 PM

    The Privacy Rule, as well as all the Administrative Simplification rules, apply to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and to any health care provider who transmits health information in electronic form in connection with transactions for which the Secretary of HHS has adopted standards under HIPAA (the “covered entities”).

    Unless Schefter is a health plan, health care clearinghouse or health care provider, they’re suing up the wrong tree. Makes you wonder why they didn’t go after the hospital in the first place.

  13. knowspinzone says: Sep 15, 2016 2:28 PM

    ESPN will lose. To paraphrase what they say before games, any publication of JPP’s medical records without expressed written consent is prohibited.

  14. atepper001 says: Sep 15, 2016 2:31 PM

    hopefully common sense prevails here and not some slimy lawyer and legal excuse. never ever should a persons personal info be allowed to be distributed w/o their consent. period.

  15. orivar says: Sep 15, 2016 2:37 PM

    No surprise that he’s a dirty weasel. Guys like Schefter are disgusting. Just the traits of everything bad about upper middle class America.

  16. TheDPR says: Sep 15, 2016 2:47 PM

    What they did is despicable enough. Trying to defend it and not settling just makes it that much worse.

  17. realfootballfan says: Sep 15, 2016 2:56 PM

    Just get that Brink’s truck for JPP, ESPN.

  18. shurmanblog says: Sep 15, 2016 2:57 PM

    Hope this a just the first of many legal butt kickings that ESPN and their slimy and so called reporters get .

  19. 8oneanddones says: Sep 15, 2016 3:06 PM

    Schefter learned the ropes covering the Denver Broncos for a local news channel.

    Just sayin’.

  20. cfos00 says: Sep 15, 2016 4:06 PM

    This is ridiculous. No chance that’s true or there’s no lawsuit. And did the other person who’s medical file was clearly visible also approve it being published? Because there was another person’s info ahown as well.

  21. FinFan68 says: Sep 15, 2016 4:08 PM

    Shefter may be a weasel but the hospital employee that gave him that document is the one that broke the law. Shefter failed the test of his moral and/or ethical obligation when he decided to tweet the image of the document. The only thing that did was benefit Shefter’s accuracy credibility. All he had to do was describe what he had been told and nobody would have complained much about it. The fact he tweeted a picture of JPP’s info is what seems to have people against him but cause it just seems more creepy than simply spreading a rumor or reporting ‘news’.

  22. Rolo Tomassi says: Sep 15, 2016 4:08 PM

    Sounds Shifty

  23. chicagobtech says: Sep 15, 2016 4:14 PM

    “Unless Schefter is a health plan, health care clearinghouse or health care provider, they’re suing up the wrong tree. Makes you wonder why they didn’t go after the hospital in the first place.”

    The case between JPP and the hospital was settled a long time ago.

  24. infectorman says: Sep 15, 2016 4:21 PM

    “In this case, ESPN and Schefter claim that Pierre-Paul “authorized” the publication of his medical records. Which means, technically, that he gave the green light to the disclosure of his medical records to Schefter…”

    Wow, such insightful insight

  25. nyneal says: Sep 15, 2016 4:29 PM

    All these people slamming Schefter are the same ones who read the National Enquirer and other sleazy magazines while they’re waiting in line at the grocery store.
    The bottom line is these reporters are paid to dig up what ever they can on the pros — good or bad — because the public has an insatiable appetite to know it.
    So all of you who are slamming Schefter and other sports reporters ought to quit being so hypocritical about it.
    As for JPP, nothing Schefter or anyone else did will change the fact that he was the dummy who blew his fingers off.
    Makle no mistake, I think what Schefter did was wrong, all I’m saying is they give us what we want to know.

  26. a1b24312 says: Sep 15, 2016 4:37 PM

    This was unethical and Schefter ought to be fired for this.

  27. vikings1234 says: Sep 15, 2016 5:25 PM

    But officer, I came to a complete stop at that stop sign, sort of.

  28. bigotshamer says: Sep 15, 2016 5:27 PM

    Considering the number of lawyers ESPN employs, I am certain at least one of them has already recommended settlement. Belaboring this matter just makes Schefter and his employer look all the worse.

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