Sunday, February 22, 2009

HIPAA Issue and Court....4/11

One of the issues that the lawsuit against the blog (and me, by default) pressed was HIPAA. But, as a result of the lawsuit, the blog has been gone over systematically by numerous agencies and individuals, looking to prove (or disprove) the case. Since I haven't heard from the government (under whose purview that falls), nor any individual whose PI might have been identified, it would seem that dog don't hunt.... Any related information that I might have received that could have remotely been considered a disclosure seemed more from the individuals themselves, or family, and I've been fairly reluctant to even put that out if it was identifiable.

Comments themselves, without going through a fair amout of trouble (even then it comes to best guess), are anonymous, so justification of making me disclose the identity of the contributors becomes moot. I've only gone through the trouble once, and that was for that stalker I had for a while.

I wonder if a statment for the court could be procurred from the administration of to that effect...sure would take some of the wind out of Essent's sails.

That leaves defamation causing financial loss. I liked the comment from another post: That I might have kept Essent from over-extending (kind of like what Hud did with ARCON, too big, too fast). I don't know that I like the idea that I, by default, kept Essent going, but it could be possible. Who's to say that it was just the economic down-turn that did it?

As to false statements, they really don't want someone going through those areas in their records. Especially emails. And, if they somehow lost some of the emails, I would imagine that there have been enough IT people dismissed that might be able to shed light in that area--like where the manditory backups are, or maybe a copy they kept of the email server log. Honor bright!


Anonymous said...

I seem to have noticed a roaring silence from the courts over this mess. Have they decided to ignore it in the hopes that it will fade away, since there doesn't seem to be any tangible proof of HIPAA violation? Or would Essent try to find a more favorable court (read: a judge too stupid to know the difference) in which to pursue this case?

How long can a dead horse be beaten before the cloud of flies and the odor of rotten flesh becomes unbearable?

Oh yes, I forget.....that would take common sense.

Anonymous said...

"As to false statements, they really don't want someone going through those areas in their records. Especially emails."

I think you've hit the nail on the head, Frank.

Here's some more news from a Maryland court:

Md. Court Rules That, in Lawsuits, the Media Do Not Have to Reveal the Names of
People Who Post Web Comments Anonymously -

fac_p said...

Actually, I would imagine that the judge has taken a crash course on HIPAA, as well as on the aspects of the First Amendment as it applies to the internet and blogs.

I know that I would have, especially after the slap-down from the appeal.

His mistake, originally, was an attempt at a quick ruling, without knowing the aspects of the case. But his decision was questionable both in format and precedents.

Ignorance can be corrected, stupidity is forever.

I would imagine the eventual decision will be carefully crafted, possibly with the help of "friends of the court".

He's not a stupid individual, and the attention will probably ramp up again on the issuance of the decision.

Realize this, the case is realatively new for Texas. To an extent, this is cutting edge. There are no real laws on the books to cover. That's why Essent relied on a bastardization of the federal code for a basis on which to disclose my identity.

disgruntled ex-employee said...

D_mn skippy about the IT folks, and with a former IT director getting slammed by the hospital AND IT being downsized, there is probably one or more "disgruntled ex-employee" among them.

fac_p said...

Wouldn't Essent just hate it if the emails that were forwarding links to this site (sent to execs) were called into play? (Check with your forensics expert.) I mean the old stuff...when Knizley and Dicky presided. Not just corporate servers. Seems like that would be discoverable, as well.... ;)

Anonymous said...

On a similar note, this story in the local fishwrap:

A different case, to be sure, but what's to keep the bright lads & lasses in Essent's legal department from rethinking and relaunching their attack on you and this blog?

fac_p said...

Don't really know the specifics on the Lesher case. From what I had heard, it sounded like the Topix crowd ran amuck (common usage dict. had three spellings?).

The Citizen's Media Law Project (under Links heading) has more mainstream cases, and what would seem to be more representational of this one.

If their case does go through and have merit, the Topix commentary will dry up instantly.

fac_p said...

One more thing, the case is before the judge. Essent did resubmit. If you look on the courthouse site (another in the links)and plug in case 76357, you'll see what's current.

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to the story printed in the local fishwrap:

Essent is making noises like they're gonna come out on top, but action speaks louder than words, and in the action department, all you will hear is roaring silence.