Lawsuit is likely for release of Pierre-Paul’s medical records

Getty Images

ESPN obtained — and published — a medical record regarding the amputation of Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s right index finger. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it’s likely that legal action will be taken against the person who leaked the document to ESPN.

The investigation will begin with the hospital that generated the records. While some have cited HIPAA as the basis for a lawsuit against the hospital, HIPAA does not permit a private legal action for the violation of its terms. Instead, any claims against the hospital would be made under Florida privacy laws. Over the years, large verdicts have been awarded against health-care providers that released private patient information.

As to ESPN, there’s nothing wrong with receiving the information. Reporting that the finger was being amputated also likely wouldn’t have been a problem, since it’s information that inevitably would have become publicly known. This specific case takes on a different feel because of the publication of the document for all of Adam Schefter’s 3.8 million Twitter followers to see, especially since there was no need to do it.

It’s unknown whether ESPN lawyers specifically approved the release of the document. Most reasonable lawyers would have said, “Why do we need to show anyone the document? What do we gain from that? Just report that the finger is being amputated. Who will doubt that?”

Given that some lawyers will sue anyone and everyone whose fingerprints are on a given case in the hopes that the defendants will fight amongst themselves, there’s reason for ESPN to worry about this one, at least a little bit. Which is all the more reason to have not posted the image of the medical record.

Ultimately, Pierre-Paul has to sign off on any lawsuit. For now, it’s safe to say he will be urged by those close to him to do it, at least as it relates to whoever leaked the document.

34 responses to “Lawsuit is likely for release of Pierre-Paul’s medical records

  1. It’s the fall of Western civilization. Someone leaked a medical record. Oh the horror.

  2. Wouldn’t one think the NFL offices were able to demand and be granted access to his medical records by Pierre-Paul?

    After all – the NFL has most definitely flexed their discipline muscle here just as they did demanding Brady turn over a phone regarding deflated footballs that weren’t actually deflated. Pierre-Paul has no choice but to “reasonably cooperate” in an investigation.

    So assuming the NFL had them, isn’t it interesting that once again ESPN gets a leak? Unlike the Brady situation, where the NFL purposefully leaked false information that it declined to clarify for 4 months, it looks like ESPN actually got the story right this time thanks to sources that wanted the records leaked.

    Seeing as this is now a FEDERAL privacy issue, one would assume the federal government, in their investigation, might want to consider whether Goodell himself is the source of this info. The guy is a weasel who won’t even let the lack of deflated footballs stop him in a deflated football scandal.

    But I don’t think the feds have any choice BUT to consider all possibilities and ESPN certainly is effectively the NFL’s network as all will attest.

  3. What does ESPN gain from that? They actually support a story with facts obtained from the prime source, and you’re wondering what it gains from doing so?

  4. Regarding this lawsuit, JPP will definitely be signing off – probably with his left hand.

  5. 33vikes says: The hospital is subject to HIPAA laws. ESPN is not.

    The Feds need to know where the information came from – that’s the bottom line

    Confirming it came from the NFL rather than the hospital would of course be relevant to their investigation.

    If it turns out the NFL offices had in fact been given this info, Goodell has no choice but to “reasonably cooperate” with the federal government by, oh, say… handing over his cellphone.

  6. Likely? If somebody doesn’t get fired over this, I’m going to be pretty upset. HIPAA laws aren’t anything we need to start playing fast and loose with for any reason. It’s bad enough we have no privacy in any other parts of our lives, so we don’t need to start with our medical records.

  7. I bet Mortenson is standing by the incinerator so he can get his hands on said finger to prove ESPN got it right.

  8. People, even athletes, have a right to privacy. This was a clear breach of privacy. Shame on Schefter, a usually solid reporter.

  9. Maybe the NFL shouldn’t disclose injuries during games by the sideline reporters. Maybe the player doesn’t want the whole world to know about his injury during the game!

  10. So, why does HIPPA only apply to the hospital? ESPN / Adam was obviously soliciting the information…why is it anyone’s business what JPP is having and not having done? It is his and the Giants to address.

    Would the same logic apply if Adam’s child was having surgery and we published his/her medical records or condition? I mean, he is in the public eye as well!

    Why the urge for the media always to report first, regardless of the damage done in their wake?

  11. Typical Florio nonsense. They will never know who released the record, so there is no one to sue.

  12. The DOJ attempted to charge Barrett Brown, a journalist, for sharing a link to private info – NYT journo shared same link, no charge. What if the private info was purchased across state lines by Adam?

  13. It’s not even the fact that information was leaked. The info would have gotten out soon enough. It’s the fact that Schefter saw the medical records and thought, “good story” instead of “probably shouldn’t release someone’s private medical records.”

  14. JPP is not under the jurisdiction of the NFL since he’s not under contract.

  15. JPP is not under the jurisdiction of the NFL since he’s not under contract with any NFL team. He’s a civilian.

  16. Who cares? Although there is clearly a HIPPA violation, what would the damages be? As a “public personality” whose medical condition would have inevitably been reported upon anyway, his damages would be minimal at best. One thing is perfectly clear;he’ll never recover the 14 Mil he lost by juggling M-80s and will probably NEVER be a force in the NFL again. In the scheme of things the HIPAA violation takes a back seat to the loss of his career.

  17. I am pro-Privacy and though JPP has brought this circus upon himself I hope the hospital staff & ESPN pay for this.

    Of course most people will shrug at that and mutter ‘meh’ because they love their Tech more than Liberty. 🙁

  18. What journalists can do
    Health-care information the media obtains independently is not subject to HIPAA and may be published or broadcast freely, subject to limitations and internal policies on printing information about minors or the deceased. Because HIPAA prevents covered agencies from disclosing names, reporters should obtain as much information as possible from non-covered agencies before turning to hospitals or medical providers for confirmation.

    The first image appears to be a screen-shot of a monitor, so it would more likely fall under the hospital’s data-security policies. You can call them evil for taking a picture of a monitor, but that’s got nothing to do with HIPAA.

    The second image appears to be taken of a printout and gives the impression that someone provided it for a media member to take the shot. That might fall under HIPAA, but again, not for the media (read above). The person (and their employer) who provided the printout to the media to be shot would be on the hook.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.