Law Firm’s Purchase of Injured Workers List May Violate N.H. State Law

July 11, 2003

A New Hampshire plaintiffs’ law firm soliciting new business reportedly recently purchased a list of workers’ compensation injury reports
from the Department of Labor (DOL), a development that could well
be in violation of state law, according to the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII).

“In light of the tremendous public response to the recently enacted ‘do not call’ law, it’s obvious that people are sensitive about outsider access to their personal information for solicitation purposes,” Gerald Zimmerman, assistant general counsel for the NAII, said. “By obtaining and disclosing this sensitive information, both the law firm and the New Hampshire DOL are treading on very tenuous ground.”

Preliminary review reportedly indicates there could be a legal basis to protest future wholesale releases of workers’ compensation injury reports, Zimmerman noted. The description of injury, coupled with the employee’s name and address, constitutes confidential medical information whose disclosure could constitute an invasion of privacy and is exempt from disclosure under New Hampshire law. Additionally, a New Hampshire Supreme Court decision states that a requestor has no right to demand that the DOL assemble special compilations of information.

“NAII is bringing this information to the attention to legislators, many of whom are outraged at this development,” Zimmerman added. “NAII is developing legislation to address this situation.”

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