High Court Narrows Scope Of Privacy Act Damages

Law360, New York (March 28, 2012, 3:59 PM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Privacy Act does not provide for mental and emotional distress damages a former pilot allegedly suffered after the U.S. Social Security Administration revealed his HIV-positive status to the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a 5-3 decision, the high court limited the recovery plaintiffs can obtain under the Privacy Act, finding that the term “actual damages” in the statute cannot be construed to include nonpecuniary harm such as mental and emotional distress because Congress did not unambiguously authorize recovery for...
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