A ruling was issued on Thursday by the Arkansas Supreme Court that says Patricia Cannady can continue with a lawsuit against a hospital and three of its workers for illegally viewing her daughter’s medical records. The court also ruled that an invasion of privacy claim has to be dropped though.
In August, the lawyers for Cannady argued that it was wrong for a lower court judge dismissed a lawsuit against St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center. Cannady’s daughter, Anne Pressly, died at the hospital. She was a Little Rock television anchor. Cannady is permitted to sue the hospital for outrageous behavior because the claim has been made on her own and not the behalf of her daughter. The court did rule that the family is not permitted to acquire punitive damages for invasion of privacy.
“The crux of the (lower) court’s order was that the outrage claim failed because it was based on the same conduct as the privacy violation claim,” the justices said in the ruling. “However, neither St. Vincent nor the circuit court has cited any authority for the proposition that two separate claims cannot be based on the same conduct. In addition, the outrage claim was not made on behalf of the decedent but on appellants’ own behalf.”
Pressly was discovered by Cannady after being beaten at her home on October 20, 2008. Pressly was an anchorwoman at KATV. She was transported to St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, which is where she passed away on October 25. Curtis Vance was convicted of capital murder in the case and has since been sentenced to life in prison. Vance was working the neighborhood to rob homes, according to police.
The doctor accused of viewing Pressly’s file from his home was Dr. Jay Holland. Holland is a family physician but was not treating Pressly. Holland, Sarah Elizabeth Miller and Candida Griffin all pled guilty to wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information in 2009. They all face one year in prison for the misdemeanor. All three said during their plea deals that they looked at the file because they were curious but that they did not discuss the information with anyone.