Can I sue hospital over not ensuring the privacy of my medical records to ex mother in law who worked there and was subsequently fired for it?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue hospital over not ensuring the privacy of my medical records to ex mother in law who worked there and was subsequently fired for it?

My ex mother in law accessed my records according to my daughter who had
information she couldn’t have received otherwise. After investigation the
hospital called and apologized and said they could not confirm my ex mother
in law didn’t access my records physically. They ruled out electronically. She
was terminated thereafter.

This information directly affected my family law case where she also worked
and I lost custody of my daughter.

Thank you,

Asked on September 5, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot. A business or institution, including a hospital, is not liable when its employees break its rules or the law; that is because breaking the rules or the law is not what those employees are hired for, and doing so is not part of their employment (employers are only liable for what employees due as part of their employment). Your ex-mother-in-law violated the hospital's rules and the law about privacy of medical records and was fired for it (which shows that what she did was against the rules); the hospital is not liable for that.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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