Sunday, December 18, 2011

Birth Parents Sue for Breach of Privacy in Revealing Adoption Info

Courthouse News Service reports:
A couple says Kaiser disclosed confidential birth records to an adopted child who was searching for his birth parents.

The plaintiffs, using pseudonyms, said James Ingraffia showed up on their doorstep, claiming to be their son. The birth parents say this clued them in that Kaiser had given their birth son confidential, sealed birth records.

Ingraffia's adopted parents Salvator and Margaret helped James find his birth parents, the couple says in their complaint in Alameda Superior Court.

"Plaintiffs suffered damages in the form of fear, apprehension, shock to the nervous system and continuous and repeated episodes of severe emotional distress when they learned that although they had taken the necessary legal steps to keep information about James Ingraffia's birth confidential and private, Defendant Kaiser had broken the seal on such records and disclosed them," the complaint says.
You can read the full legal complaint here.

The lawsuit gets an incredulous reaction from privacy news website PogoWasRight:
2. . . . Can you imagine being an adopted child and trying to find your parents, only to have them not only reject you but sue you for invading their privacy?  And for them to ask a court to enjoin you from contacting them again via any means?

3. The adoptive parents are also defendants in the lawsuit for allegedly assisting their child in finding his birth parents, although there is no evidence of that provided, either. The plaintiffs allege that the adoptive parents were negligent and should have known that their assistance would result in pain, suffering, distress, etc. to the plaintiffs. How should they have known that?  Perhaps the adoptive parents thought the birth parents might find themselves glad to see their child after so many years. Or perhaps they realized their child was suffering and they did what good parents do – try to help their child.

* * *
4. . . . The Does’ identities are not only at risk of media publication as a result of the lawsuit leading to media coverage, but  their identities are easily discoverable. . . . [The lawyer] leaving her clients’ home address in the complaint as the location of the offense somewhat undermines calling them Doe in court records. I’ve decided not to name them at this time, but a simple Google search gave me her clients’ names within a matter of minutes.
A commenter at PogoWasRight doesn't have the same discretion as does the blogger, and publishes the names of the birth parents!  And also discloses that the adoptive parents are Hollywood figures and presumably wealthy, opining that the birth parents are interested only in the money a lawsuit would bring. 

What a sordid mess! All that secrecy and shame leading to this. Strikes me as a better example of why there should not be secrets in adoption, rather than a story of why privacy should prevail.

Thanks to facebook community Adoption News and Events for the link!


maybe said...

"Strikes me as a better example of why there should not be secrets in adoption, rather than a story of why privacy should prevail."

Right on! Everyone should be aware that there is no guarantee of confidentiality, therefore all information should be out in the open from day one.

Anonymous said...

I guess this kind of makes me think of abortion proponents...the attitude of the birth parents is like this young man doesn't exist to them as a person. He's a nuisance that they want to get rid of, not their child.