opinion

ACLU Has Big Win Over Cal-OSHA Protecting Performer Privacy

Diane Duke

Alameda Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith has ordered a permanent injunction preventing Cal-OSHA from obtaining the personally identifying information of “Patient Zero” or other patients of AIM.

The injunction was broadly worded and is a huge defeat of the California state agency’s efforts at obtaining the medical records and identifying information of adult film performers.

Karen Tynan, attorney for AIM explained, “Judge Smith was very specific in requiring Cal-OSHA to obtain performer permission and authorization before seeking HIV test results or personally identifying information. It is bittersweet after this lengthy fight and all that has happened in the last two years. Judge Smith made the correct ruling and the medical records of performers and performer medical privacy has been recognized as requiring protection from intrusive subpoenas of Cal-OSHA.”

Tynan expressed her gratitude to the Southern California ACLU office and Lori Rifkin who represented “Patient Zero” and obtained the original preliminary injunction in July of 2009.

At the time of the temporary injunction, a Cal-OSHA spokesperson had stated that the state regulatory agency had sought personal records for Patient Zero in order to identify the patient’s employer, in an effort to investigate working conditions at the company. In the original ruling, Judge Smith stated that Cal-OSHA , “has not demonstrated, by evidence or argument, a compelling need for the information sought in the subpoena.”

Patient Zero was diagnosed HIV-positive in June 2009, however no other performers were found to have contracted the virus as a result of the incident.

(Photo: Courtesy of GlenTamara)

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