Recently, the First District Court of Appeal held a woman who has HIV can go forward with a negligence cause of action which resulted from the alleged disclosure of her HIV diagnosis by an employee of a primary-care clinic. This decision is a reversal from a decision made by a Duval County circuit judge who had dismissed the lawsuit. The three-judge panel found that the circuit judge incorrectly treated the negligence allegation as medical-malpractice claim. In doing so, the circuit judge ruled that Jane Doe had not met a statute-of-limitations requirement and a pre-suit notice requirement under the state’s medical-malpractice laws. But the appeals court said the lawsuit was not a malpractice case, finding the alleged improper disclosure did not stem from the “…. a medical diagnosis, treatment, or care ,but from simple negligence.”
The female, known as Jane Doe, had received the diagnosis from her primary care physician at Baptist Primary Care but wanted to keep the diagnosis private even though she had began treatment. In 2007, she contacted Baptist Primary Care for a referral and provided insurance-related information, Subsequently, an employee of the clinic allegedly disclosed to her boyfriend that Jane Doe was HIV-positive. The ruling said the employee’s boyfriend worked for the same company as Jane Doe’s husband. The husband was later asked to drop his wife from a company health-insurance plan and was terminated after refusing to do so. A lawsuit was then brought alleging a violation of privacy because of the disclosure and alleged that Baptist Primary Care was negligent in training and supervision of employees.
Read the entire opinion here: https://edca.1dca.org/DCADocs/2015/0696/150696_DC08_10122015_101751_i.pdf