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Fed Report. 1994 Jan 28;15:264-70.

Doe v. City of New York.



The plaintiff, John Doe, together with other former Pan Am Airlines employees, interviewed for a position with Delta Airlines. When he was refused a job, Doe filed a complaint with New York City's human rights commission charging that Delta discriminated against him because he was a single gay male suspected of being HIV positive. The commission, Delta, and Doe reached a Conciliation Agreement that included a confidentiality clause providing that, except as required by law or with Doe's consent, any disclosure of the case would not reveal Doe's name. Despite the clause, the commission issued a press release, published in various New York newspapers, that disclosed the terms of the Agreement. Doe alleged that the release contained sufficient information to identify him and reveal his HIV status. Doe sued New York City, in a U.S. district court, charging that his constitutional right to privacy had been violated by the public release of the Agreement. The court dismissed the suit, stating that complaints filed with the commission are, by the Administrative Code of NYC, a matter of public record. Doe appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. The appeals court held that Doe possesses a constitutional right to privacy or confidentiality of his medical condition and that it did not, as a matter of law, automatically become a public record. The lower court's decision was reversed and remanded to resolve, among other issues, whether the city had a substantial interest in issuing the press release that outweighed Doe's privacy interest.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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