Saturday, May 14, 2011
Former teacher did not enjoy constitutionally protected right of privacy from public disclosure of fibromyalgia
Matson v. Board of Educ. of the City of New York, ____F.3d____ (2d Cir, Jan. 11, 2011), is an interesting case. The Second Circuit held that a former teacher failed to state a valid cause of action under § 1983 for violation of her right to privacy based on the school district publicly disclosing that she suffers from fibromyalgia. The court concluded that the teacher does not enjoy a constitutionally protected privacy right with respect to that particular medical condition, which, though serious, was not equivalent to HIV/AIDS or transsexualism, which would carry a social stigma if disclosed. The teacher also did not allege sufficient facts to suggest that disclosure of her fibromyalgia had exposed her to discrimination or intolerance.
The dividing line between what is and ehat is not actionable is a fluid one and I do not believe that there is alot of case law on point. Law review commentary would be most welcome.