A Delaware trial court ordered health care provider Infectious Disease Associates, P.A. (‘IDA’) to pay more than $1.1 million to a man, suing anonymously as John Doe, who lost his job after IDA faxed information about his HIV-related treatment to his workplace.
Despite conflicting evidence, the jury determined that confidential information was revealed—since his coworker must have seen the fax to deliver it – and that Doe’s termination was a foreseeable consequence of sending that information. The jury also accepted that Doe’s performance reviews did not justify termination prior to the fax.
The damage award covers Doe’s lost wages after termination and compensation for emotional distress he suffered. Though Doe had previously suffered from depression, his physician testified that his upset following the incident necessitated a new prescription treatment. This served as the physical manifestation of emotional distress required for an award of damages.