Privacy

The Permanente Medical Group v. Cooper

Date: 

03/15/2005

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.; Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Elisa Cooper

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

California Superior Court, Alameda County

Case Number: 

RG05-203029

Legal Counsel: 

Elisa Cooper (Pro Se)

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Injunction Issued

Description: 

Permanente Medical Group, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (Kaiser) sued fomer employee Elisa Cooper in California state court in March 2005. The complaint alleged that Cooper breached a confidentiality agreement and invaded the privacy of Kaiser patients by posting on her personal blog documents containing the confidential health information of Kaiser member patients. Kaiser asked the court to enjoin Cooper from pubishing this information and to return any documents in her possession containing this information.

Cooper disputes that she published Kaiser internal documents. According to her blog, Cooper found a Kaiser document called the "Systems Diagram" on a public website long after she was terminated from her employment with Kaiser. The Systems Diagram apparently containd names, IP addresses, computer codes, and screenshots that Cooper considered a breach of HIPAA, a federal law that protects the confidentiality of patient health information. In her account, Cooper posted links to the Systems Diagram on her blog in order to bring the breach to the attention of government agencies, but did not host the materials.

On March 24, 2005, the court issued a preliminary injunction barring Cooper from disseminating patient information. On December 19, 2005, the court granted summary judgment to Kaiser on its invasion of privacy claim. On January 19, 2005, the court entered a permanent injunction barring Cooper from the posting health information of Kaiser's member patients and ordering her to destroy all materials in her possession containing this information.

On her blog, Cooper indicated that she would be appealing the ruling, but we have been unable to determine the status of her appeal.

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

to-do: it appears that Kaiser sent Cooper a cease-and-desist letter (see page 5 of Plaintiff's Memorandum in Support of Summary Judgment) - need to create related database entry for the letter

Content Type: 

Threat Source: 

MLRC

Subject Area: 

Guajome Park Academy v. DuPerry

Date: 

03/24/2006

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

Guajome Park Academy, Inc.

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Beau DuPerry; David McCulloch

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Southern District of California

Case Number: 

3:06CV00658

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$11,200.00

Legal Counsel: 

Arthur Floyd Sloane (Defendant DuPerry); Pro Se (Defendant David McCulloch)

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Settled (partial)

Description: 

A group of former school employees started a website called Guajome Underground to rally school students, parents, and current and former employees to remove the school superintendent. The school claims that it discovered numerous instances of unauthorized access to a school database containing confidential information about students, including grades. The school alleges that confidential information, including the grades of a student, were posted to a "restricted" forum section of guajomeunderground.

The school sued a former student, Beau DuPerry, and a then-current employee, David McCulloch, for accessing the database and posting the confidential information, allegedly in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and provisions of California criminal law that provide for a private cause of action. DuPerry settled and agreed to cooperate with the school. The school moved to amend its complaint in November 2006, seeking to add others defendants who allegedly had access to the forum, as well as a civil conspiracy claim and a breach of contract claim (against McCulloch only). The court granted in part and denied in part the motion to amend the complaint (it appears that the court did not permit Guajome to add additional defendants). McCulloch moved for summary judgment in July 2007, and the court denied that motion in August 2007.

Updates:

7/13/2006 - Guajome Park settled with Defendant DuPerry - $11,200

12/11/2006 - Amended Complaint filed against Defendant McCulloch

7/9/2007 - McCulloch filed motion for summary judgment

8/16/2007 - Court denied McCulloch's motion for summary judgment

11/19/2008 - Court granted in part and denied in part Guajome Park's motion for reimbursement of fees

1/21/2009 - Court granted ex parte motion to continue mandatory settlement conference

11/24/2008 - Trial is scheduled to commence on 5/26/2009

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

SB Reviewed; to-do: get additional court documents

Status checked on 6/4/2008, case appears to be heading to trial. (AAB)

Updated 2/26/09 - VAF

Content Type: 

Threat Source: 

MLRC

Subject Area: 

Revealing Undercover Police Officer's Identity Not Privacy Violation in New Mexico

To keep the police misconduct theme going here at the CMLP, I'll expand on a short post I read by Eugene Volokh on the Volokh Conspiracy. Volokh notes:

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Can Public Records Be Too Public?

That is the question that Jason Fry raises in a provocative column in the Wall Street Journal Online. Fry writes that:

Property deeds, marriage and divorce records, court files, motor-vehicle information and tax documents are increasingly being digitized, and contain a wealth of information that few of us would want online: Social Security numbers, birth dates, maiden names and images of our signatures. Local governments have rushed to put those documents online for a decade or so, often without scrubbing them of such information. And that's made them potentially fertile ground for busybodies, stalkers and identity thieves.

I have no doubt that this comes as a shock to many people. But it shouldn't. The records being put online are public. They are available to anyone willing to schlep to the courthouse or county clerk. As Fry notes, "[o]pen records are a longstanding American tradition."

Subject Area: 

Teen Arrested for Videotaping Police

An 18 year-old from Carlisle, Pennsylvania has been charged with a felony under Pennsylvania's wiretap statute -- for videotaping a police officer during a traffic stop.

Brian D. Kelly didn't think he was doing anything illegal when he used his videocamera to record a Carlisle police officer during a traffic stop. Making movies is one of his hobbies, he said, and the stop was just another interesting event to film. [...] Kelly, 18, of Carlisle, was arrested on a felony wiretapping charge, with a penalty of up to 7 years in state prison. [...] Kelly is charged under a state law that bars the intentional interception or recording of anyone's oral conversation without their consent.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Whosarat.com

Interesting article in today's New York Times about Whosarat.com, which says it has identified 4,300 informers and 400 undercover agents, many of them from electronic court records.  According to a Justice Department official quoted in the piece:

Subject Area: 

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