Health Law & Business News

YouTube, A&E Get ‘Frivolous’ Health Privacy Claim Dismissed

Dec. 11, 2018, 4:41 PM

YouTube LLC, A&E Television Inc., and others didn’t violate federal health-care privacy law by broadcasting live as police transported a mental-health care patient to a medical facility.

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act doesn’t allow a person to sue another for disclosing his or her private medical information. Chad Holley’s HIPAA claim, therefore, was frivolous and should be dismissed, a federal magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio recommended Dec. 10.

Holley alleged he was involved in a “suicide situation” in Pasco County, Fla., that resulted in the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office taking him to Medical Center of Trinity Behavioral Health. YouTube and A&E’s broadcasts of the incident exposed his personal medical information to the public, he said.

Holley claimed the broadcasters, along with the sheriff’s office and the medical center, violated his rights under HIPAA. The claim was “indisputably meritless” because HIPAA doesn’t create a private right of action, the magistrate judge said.

Neither YouTube nor A&E, moreover, are covered by HIPAA, the court said. HIPAA applies only to health plans, health clearing houses, and health-care providers.

Holley’s negligence claims also failed, because he didn’t describe the information that was released or connect the information’s release to any particular defendant, the magistrate judge said.

The case is Holley v. A&E Television Networks, LLC, 2018 BL 455590, S.D. Ohio, No. 3:18-cv-312, 12/10/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Anne Pazanowski in Washington at mpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com

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