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Court Orders Disclosure of Medical Records; Reverses Itself Next Day

U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe ordered the release of medical records of 30 prisoners to class counsel in a civil rights action challenging the adequacy of care provided to HIV positive New York prisoners after the prisoners objected to a settlement in the case. The court, however, rescinded its order the following day.

Federal and state law provides privacy protections for medical records. In its initial order requiring disclosure of the objecting prisoners’ medical records, the court found that class counsel had a compelling need for access to their medical records – to address objections raised to the settlement.

The following day, however, the court backpedalled. Before ordering disclosure, the affected prisoners were entitled to notice and an opportunity to respond, the court held. Accordingly, the court ordered class counsel to notify the affected prisoners of the potential disclosure of their medical records. See: Inmates of New York State with HIV v. Pataki, USDC, N.D.N.Y., No. 9:90-CV-00252 (2007).

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Related legal case

Inmates of New York State with HIV v. Pataki

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