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Supreme Court To Review Privacy Case

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

June 21, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a ruling that said an individual could sue a federal agency for emotional distress because of the release of personal information. The case, FAA vs. Cooper, 10-1024, involves a pilot who filed a lawsuit against federal agencies for disclosing his medical records during a fraud investigation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In February 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the pilot, but the Obama Administration has argued that the 1974 Privacy Act does not allow damages for emotional distress. The plaintiff's lawyer said, "More often than not, embarrassment and humiliation are the only damages...Unless these are compensable, it's a free license to the government" to circumvent the law.
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