A family has sued the Palo Alto school district, saying they suffered embarrassment, humiliation, medical issues and financial cost after a teacher allegedly disclosed private medical information about the family's son.
In a complaint filed in September in U.S. District Court, James and Jennifer Chadam are seeking unspecified damages as well as recoupment of attorneys' fees from their October 2012 lawsuit against the district, which was settled in their favor.
In the new lawsuit, the family contends that a breach of their son's private medical information by a district teacher led to the entire painful ordeal.
The family had sued last year to block their son's removal from Jordan Middle School after district officials ordered his transfer, saying his health condition posed a threat to other Jordan students who have cystic fibrosis. In a November 2012 settlement, the Chadams' son was permitted to stay at Jordan provided protocols to avoid cross-infection among cystic-fibrosis patients are followed.
The Chadams maintained their son had never been clinically diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and that his genetic condition posed no threat of cross-infection to students with the disease.
In the new lawsuit, the Chadams say the school district violated the federal right to privacy and the Americans with Disabilities Act when one of their son's teachers allegedly passed along private health information about him to another family in September 2012.
The Chadams had disclosed the information in school health forms filed the month before, shortly after arriving in Palo Alto from their previous residence in Singapore.
The privacy breach led to a determination by the district a week later that the Chadam boy must transfer to Terman Middle School three and a half miles from their home, the new lawsuit said.
Although their first lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court resulted in the boy remaining at Jordan, the Chadams said the ordeal has caused them humiliation, embarrassment …(and) a profound disruption in family life and relationships, medical expenses and other damages directly caused by the unlawful disclosure of information regarding (their son's) medical condition."
School district representatives declined to comment on the claim.