‘Patient Zero’ Files Suit Against Calif., AIM Over Right to Privacy

Jul 21, 2009 10:15 AM PST
ALAMEDA, Calif. — Adult performer “Patient Zero” is seeking an injunction against Cal-OSHA and the AIM Healthcare Foundation over the release of information that “the clinic is prohibited by law to provide and the state agency is not authorized by law to compel,” according to a suit filed by ACLU attorneys.

The suit over Patient Zero information was put on the fast track after her counsel from the ACLU learned of a meeting slated last week between Cal-OSHA officials and AIM personnel.

The court filing details the extent Cal-OSHA used its regulatory power to seek patient medical records at AIM, which provides HIV and STD testing and treatment mostly for adult industry performers.

Cal-OSHA, which conducted a surprise inspection of the AIM facility in Sherman Oaks, Calif., on June 17, later issued a subpoena to AIM but not to Patient Zero, who was informed by AIM on June 6 that results of an HIV test showed her preliminarily testing positive for HIV. (Patient Zero’s identity has never been revealed publicly.)

The subpoena issued by Cal-OSHA includes requests for confidential public health records and “personally identifying information of AIM patents who tested positive for HIV that could reasonably be expected to identify or lead to the identification of Patient Zero.”

At the time, AIM personnel refused to produce records.

But Cal-OSHA officials scheduled a follow-up investigatory interview for last Thursday with AIM staff in Oakland, Calif., according to the suit.

Once Patient Zero’s attorneys got wind of last week’s interview with AIM staff, they immediately shot off a request to Cal-OSHA objecting to it.

Patient Zero’s counsel said they never received any response from Cal-OSHA relative to the request; however a receipt of the letter showed that Cal-OSHA special counsel did receive the letter.

This week, Patient Zero's counsel filed its suit at Alameda Superior Court.

ACLU attorneys said that, unless enjoined by the court, Cal-OSHA and AIM, if compelled by state regulators, will violate Patient Zero’s right to privacy and give irreparable harm to her.

At post time, AIM spokeswoman Brooke Hunter told XBIZ “the organization is not at liberty to talk [about the suit].”

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