COA to hear oral arguments in medical privacy case for second time

A Lake County lawsuit alleging medical privacy violations when a dog groomer’s X-rays were shared in her workplace after her boss’s husband accessed them is heading back to the Court of Appeals of Indiana for arguments next week.

The Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Amanda Henry v. Community Healthcare System Community Hospital, 21A-CT-2150, at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Amanda Henry injured the tip of her ring finger and sought treatment at Community Hospital-Munster in 2018. While at the hospital, X-ray images were taken of Henry’s finger, which had been fractured, and she was advised to take a few days off work at her job as a dog groomer.

When Henry returned to work, her employer showed her and a co-worker X-ray images of Henry’s finger. Henry’s employer’s husband was a radiological technician at the hospital, and though not involved in Henry’s care, he had accessed the images and shared them with his wife, who was Henry’s employer.

Henry filed a complaint against Community Healthcare System Community Hospital alleging general negligence. In 2019, the COA reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the complaint under Trial Rule 12 and remanded for further proceedings in Lake Superior Court.

On remand, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the hospital, finding that there was no provision for recovery for emotional damages without satisfying the modified impact rule, and that Henry did not plead intentional tort or pursue a claim under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act.

Lake Superior Judge John Sedia opined in September, “In sum, Henry is claiming no physical injuries, no lost wages and no economic damages. Her only claims are for harm to her privacy interest and for mental distress. Henry’s cogent and persuasive arguments regarding what the law should be (and is in other jurisdictions) cannot overcome the law as it stands in the State of Indiana: When applied to the designated evidence, Henry is not entitled to the damages she claims by way of any theory of recovery she presents.”

The argument will be held in the Court of Appeals courtroom at the Indiana Statehouse, but in-person attendance will be limited to judges, court personnel and no more than two attorneys per arguing party. A livestream of the arguments will be available online.

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