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Did ESPN violate NFL Star Jason Pierre-Paul’s privacy when posting his medical records online?

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The start of the NFL season has become an unofficial holiday. I count myself among those excited for the season to begin.  But wherever the NFL is, controversy

It was a little over a year ago when ESPN analyst Adam Schefter tweeted out a photo of New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s medical chart.  This infamous picture revealed that Jason Pierre-Paul’s right index finger had been amputated following a fireworks accident.  Before this tweet, information regarding Jason’s injury had been mostly conjecture.

Most of us would be horrified.  Can you even imagine someone posting your private medical information on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook?  Posting Jason’s medical records not only arguably invaded his privacy, but also could have impacted his ongoing contractual negotiations with the New York Giants.

Twitter, Facebook, and Medical Records

In response, Jason Pierre-Paul filed a lawsuit against ESPN and Adam Shefter.  Jason is alleging that ESPN and Adam Shefter improperly obtained his medical records and then violated his privacy by posting them online.  Adam Shefter’s post allowed anyone with an internet connection to view Jason’s private medical records.  Jason’s lawsuit does not specify any money damages, but it is suspected he is seeking in excess of seven figures.

Just last week, the Judge in this case denied ESPN and Adam Shefter’s Motion to Dismiss.  This Motion was based primary on First Amendment protections.  ESPN and Adam Shefter argued, in part, that the medical records were news worthy due to Jason’s status as a public figure and athlete.  Conversely, Jason is arguing, in part, that while the general discussion of his injuries could be newsworthy, the unlawfully obtained medical records were not as they did nothing but confirm certain speculation.   Jason’s attorneys argued that to allow this to occur would open the floodgates on reporters trying to obtain celebrities, politicians, and athletes’ medical records, essentially taking away any right to privacy.

Winning the Motion to Dismiss does not mean that Jason will have an easy victory in the case, it only means that the case can move forward.

Most would likely agree that Adam Shefter and ESPN violated Jason’s privacy, but do his actions rise to the level of an actionable claim?  Seems the Court things so thus far, we will continue to provide updates on this case as it moves forward.

If you or someone you care about has a legal claim, call one of the experienced attorneys at Hipskind & McAninch for a FREE case consultation at: 618.641.9189 | 314.242.2930 | info@hm-attorneys.com

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