Mar 29

Privacy Damages: Pshaw!

While many of you were going about your routine business on Wednesday, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Alito, handed down an important ruling concerning what you will be able to recover in the case that the United States government decides to make any of that business public.

Essentially, if the government improperly leaks your private information, whether by mistake, or in some misguided effort to embarrass or intimidate you, the measure of damages recoverable in court will be limited to your out-of-pocket expenses. In the past–since the post-Watergate era–plaintiffs were able to recover damages for emotional distress. So, if you spend $10 to take a cab to your psychiatrists office, the $10 is recoverable, but your actual damages are not. This will not only make it less likely that plaintiffs will bring privacy cases, but more importantly it removes any impediment the government may have had not to act in nefarious ways with regard to your private information.

Mar 23

He Started it!

With the Supreme Court set to hear oral argument over the constitutionality of specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are weighting their options once the opinion is handed down. While it is unlikely the high court will issue its decision until after the 2012 Presidential election, it is important to remember that the individual mandate was a Republican idea to begin with, going as far as to introduce the legislation in Congress. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a political party with consistent principles?