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U.S. Court In California Finds No Constitutional Right To Privacy In Complaints Filed With State Medical Board

 
 

HLD, v. 34, n. 1 (January 2006)

U.S. Court In California Finds No Constitutional Right To Privacy In Complaints Filed With State Medical Board

 

A federal court in California found no constitutional right to privacy in complaints filed against a podiatrist with the state medical board.

 

Plaintiff Andrew Carver operated a podiatry practice in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Chronicle ran a story about Carver alleging that he attracted clients by falsely claiming that he treated professional athletes and that he had twenty-two complaints filed against him.

 

The Medical Board of California subsequently sent Carver a letter stating he had only six complaints filed against him. The Board also said that Carver may have had twenty-two complaints, but that meritless complaints should have been removed from his file.

 

Carver filed suit against both the former and current Executive Director of the Medical Board. Defendants moved to dismiss.

 

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California first addressed Carver's 42 U.S.C. � 1983 claim. The court found Carver did not have a � 1983 claim because "[e]ven if defendants released information about the number of complaints filed against Carver to the public, this does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation."

 

The court also disagreed with Carver's argument that a right of privacy is created by California law because the Medical Board is required to keep complaints confidential. The court found that the state law does not create a constitutional right to privacy. It merely provides for a possible state remedy, the court said.

 

Carver v. Rathlesberger, CIV-S-04-1918 DFL PAN (E.D. Cal. Nov. 11, 2005).

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