In this decision from the Supreme Court of Mississippi, the court lays out the perimeters for causes of action arising from disclosure of medical information. Patty Kyle had an unpaid medical bill that the medical service provider assigned to Franklin Collection Service, Inc. With this assignment came an itemized listing of the code names and amounts charged for each medical service, effectively disclosing all of the medical treatment received. When Franklin sued to collect, Kyle responded with a counterclaim against both the collection agency and the medical provider alleging violation of the physician-patient privilege and invasion of privacy. The collection agency moved for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. The Supreme Court of Mississippi here affirmed a denial of the motion for summary judgment on the patient's claim of invasion of privacy, and remanded the case for further proceedings on that claim. It reversed the trial court's denial of the motion for summary judgment on the patient's counterclaims for violation of the medical privilege and infliction of emotional distress, and it rendered judgment for Franklin Collection on these counterclaims.
In Mississippi there is no common law physician-patient privilege. A medical privilege exists only to the extent of the narrow privilege created by Section 13-1-21 of the Mississippi Code, and the broader privilege created by Rule 503 of the Mississippi Rules of Evidence. This opinion applies both of these privileges narrowly on the facts of Kyle's case, but do find that she may have a claim for invasion of privacy. It is the prominent case for understanding what cause of action HIV positive individuals in Mississippi may have for the non-consensual disclosure of their medical information.