NY court rejects liability for STD disclosure

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s highest court says an upstate medical clinic isn’t liable for a nurse revealing a man’s sexually transmitted disease to his girlfriend since it was outside her duties and violated clinic policy.

Identified as John Doe in court papers, the man’s 2010 medical condition at Guthrie Clinic Steuben (stoo-BEHN’) in Corning was disclosed by the nurse who was his girlfriend’s sister-in-law.

The nurse was fired. John Doe sued seeking damages for violation of patient privacy.

The Court of Appeals, ruling 6-1, says a medical corporation’s duty to protect patient records is limited to “reasonably foreseeable risks” from staff actions within the scope of their jobs.

In a dissent, Judge Jenny Rivera says that information is so readily available electronically that clinics should be strictly liable for staff disclosures.

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