Court denies motion for protective order regarding Medicare beneficiaries health information

By Gabriel Neves | Feb 1, 2019

MIAMI — A medical supplies company seeking to block the plaintiffs of a lawsuit from disseminating private health information from Medicare recipients has suffered a loss in court.

U.S. District Judge William Matthewman, on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, issued a nine-page ruling on Jan. 25 denying a protective order in a lawsuit filed by Daniel Yarbrough and Codi Fletcher, with the U.S. and the state of Florida as relators, against AM-Med Diabetic Supplies Inc.

The defendants filed the motion aiming to stop Yarbrough and Fletcher from disseminating extrajudicial statements, as well as protected information regarding health issues from Medicare beneficiaries.

"Defendants also request that the order direct counsel to remove Facebook and website posts containing extrajudicial statements and Protected Health lnformation," the ruling said, as AM-Med claims that "news stations have repeatedly published documents on television, social media, and news websites that, while partially redacted, still reveal the identity of the patients."

AM-Med also claimed that the dissemination is a violation of HIPAA, as well as the media campaign "interferes with Defendants' fundamental right to a fair jury," violating Florida Bar rules.

In his ruling, Judge Matthewman stated that the social media posts regarding the subject "could later impact Defendants' right to a fair trial," encouraging the plaintiffs to "review their website and Facebook

page and determine whether counsel believe it is appropriate to modify or remove all or portions of the posts at issue."

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Case number 9:15-cv-81520-KAM

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