Bagent v. Blessing Care Corp.

862 N.E.2d 985 (2007)

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Bagent v. Blessing Care Corp.

Illinois Supreme Court
862 N.E.2d 985 (2007)

Facts

Misty Young (defendant) was a phlebotomist at Illini Community Hospital (Illini) (defendant). As part of her employment, Young attended a training session on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Young also signed a confidentiality policy and code of conduct acknowledging that she understood their terms. While working at Illini, Young read a fax that contained blood results indicating that Suzanne Bagent (plaintiff) was pregnant. Shortly thereafter, Young saw Sarah Bagent, Suzanne’s sister, at a local bar. Sarah was also Young’s best friend. During the conversation, Young told Sarah that Suzanne was pregnant, assuming that Sarah knew. But Sarah did not know. Young apologized profusely and explained that she was not allowed to disclose this information. Suzanne later complained to Illini’s chief executive officer that her patient confidentiality had been breached, and Young was forced to resign. Suzanne then sued both Young and Illini for various privacy-related torts. Suzanne claimed that Illini was liable on a theory of respondeat superior. Illini responded that Young was acting outside the scope of her employment when she revealed the information. The trial court agreed, but the intermediate appellate court reversed. Illini appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Freeman, J.)

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