Anne Pressly privacy lawsuit allowed to proceed, in part

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A lawsuit filed by Anne Pressly's parents can move forward, in part.

After Anne was attacked in 2008, three employees of St. Vincent accessed her medical records even though they were not treating her. All three later pleaded guilty and were sentenced.

Anne's mother, Patti Cannady, later filed a civil suit against all three employees for invasion of privacy as well as St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center for not having measures in place in their electronic database to prevent such an invasion from happening.

The Arkansas Supreme Court Thursday ruled that two of the three parts of that suit are legal and can proceed.

The court threw out the invasion of privacy claim, agreeing with a lower court that privacy rights do not survive patients after they die. The courts who have heard this lawsuit from its beginning have cited a 19th century law regarding invasion of privacy, which Anne's parents have said they hope to change through new legislation.

"What you have is an 1883 law being applied in the 21st century when we now have computers, other electronic access to media, Twitter, Facebook - all sorts of ability to mine and search for data across the entire spectrum electronically that was not contemplated in 1883," said Pressly's father Guy Cannady in a September interview with Channel 7 News.

The Court, however, said the other two aspects of Patti's lawsuit can proceed. The first is a claim of "outrage," which is a legal device allowing plaintiffs to sue in cases of mental harm because of "another's intentional, outrageous conduct may, even absent a physical injury."

The final claim that St. Vincent can be held liable for the conduct of its employees was also allowed to move forward.

KATV's Jason Pederson will look into the legal precedent this ruling sets for future privacy invasion cases tonight at 5 & 6.

Click here to read the full opinion.Click here to read Associate Justice Paul Danielson's concurring opinion.