BUL4602 Fall-2011 Lecture 8, Reading 3

BUL4602 Fall-2011 Lecture 8, Reading 3 - Supreme Court of...

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Unformatted text preview: Supreme Court of Florida ____________ No. SC04-1747 ____________ FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Petitioner, vs. LISA M. ABRIL, et vir, Respondents. [October 18, 2007] PER CURIAM. This case is before the Court pursuant to a certified question of great public importance from the Second District Court of Appeal. We have jurisdiction. Art. V, 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. The appellee, Lisa M. Abril, sought damages based upon negligence in the unauthorized disclosure of the results of her HIV testing. Abril v. Dept of Corr. , 884 So. 2d 206, 207-08 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004). The district court reversed the trial courts dismissal of the case for failure to state a cause of action. Id. at 213. In reinstating the case, the Second District certified the following question to this Court as one of great public importance: IS FLORIDAS IMPACT RULE APPLICABLE IN A CASE IN WHICH IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL INJURIES HAS RESULTED FROM A CLINICAL LABORATORYS BREACH OF A DUTY OF CONFIDENTIALITY UNDER SECTION 381.004(3)(f), FLORIDA STATUTES (SUPP. 1996), WITH RESPECT TO HIV TEST INFORMATION? Id. While not approving all of the reasoning, we approve the district courts ultimate decision, answer the certified question in the negative, and hold that an entity that negligently and unlawfully violates a patients right of confidentiality and privacy in disclosing the results of HIV testing of the patient may be held responsible in a civil negligence action for damages caused to the patient by the unlawful disclosure. Proceedings to Date The prior proceedings were summarized by the district court in the opinion below: The amended complaint alleged that Mrs. Abril, in the course of her employment with the department as a senior licensed practical nurse at the Hendry County Correctional Institution [(HCCI)], had given unprotected mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to an inmate. After it was determined that the inmate was infected with hepatitis C and that it was unknown whether the inmate was infected with HIV, Mrs. Abril unsuccessfully sought testing for hepatitis and HIV through the departments workers compensation carrier, which declined to authorize the testing because it determined that the resuscitation did not expose her to a risk of infection. Subsequently, the institutions chief medical officer submitted a blood sample from Mrs. Abril to Continental Laboratory, a laboratory under contract with the State of Florida to provide clinical laboratory services for inmates for HIV testing. 2 The complaint further alleged that a document indicating that the test results for HIV were positive was faxed to an unsecured fax machine in the institutions business office and to another fax machine in Tallahassee at the [Department of Corrections] offices of Chief Health Services, despite Continental Laboratorys assurances set forth in a prior fax to a confidentially-secured fax machine in the institutions medical office that the results of the test were confidential...
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BUL4602 Fall-2011 Lecture 8, Reading 3 - Supreme Court of...

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