Published January, 2012
Doe v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc., ED96516, 2012 Mo. App. LEXIS 860 (2012).
This is a Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District decision affirming the trial court's jury verdict in favor of the defendant, Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories, who allegedly wrongly disclosed the plaintiff's HIV test results and medical information to the plaintiff's employer. Missouri, like many states, has strict HIV confidentiality laws in place to protect HIV-positive individuals. The plaintiff sued for wrongful disclosure of his HIV test results, breach of fiduciary duty, invasion of privacy, and intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress. The per curiam opinion by the appeals court states there were no errors of law by the trial court, but fails to further explain its reasoning, stating that "reciting the detailed facts and restating the principles of law would have no precedential value."
The plaintiff-appellant's brief states that the plaintiff had blood work done at Quest Diagnostics and due to a lab mix-up, the results were inadvertently faxed to his place of employment, a church. He alleged that individuals at the church viewed the test results, and six months later, he was terminated from employment. The plaintiff reported receiving harassing phone calls regarding his HIV status in the weeks following this disclosure, including one in which he was called "an HIV-riddled faggot."
This case highlights that, even in jurisdictions with laws in place to protect the privacy of HIV-positive individuals, courts may be hostile to plaintiffs' claims.
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