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DOE v. CITY OF NEW YORK

June 14, 1993

In the Matter of the Claim of JOHN DOE (this name being fictitious), Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, THE CITY OF NEW YORK COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, DENNIS DELEON, as Commissioner/Chair of the City of New York Commission on Human Rights and Individually, and KAREN ARTHUR as an employee of the City of New York Commission on Human Rights and Individually, Defendants.


GRIESA


The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS P. GRIESA

This action is the result of a press release issued by the New York City Commission on Human Rights. The release allegedly led to the identification of plaintiff as HIV positive. Plaintiff claims that the release breached one of the terms of a conciliation agreement signed by the Commission. The complaint contains a cause of action for breach of contract. The complaint also asserts a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of a constitutional right of privacy. Finally, the complaint claims violation of plaintiff's right of confidentiality guaranteed under New York Public Health Law § 2782(1).

 Defendants are the Commission; its commissioner, Dennis deLeon; and a Commission employee, Karen Arthur.

 Defendants move to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The motion is granted.

 THE COMPLAINT

 The following are the allegations in the complaint.

 Plaintiff was one of several hundred employees of Pan Am who was laid off when Pan Am went into bankruptcy in 1991. Plaintiff interviewed for a job with Delta which took over many of Pan Am's routes, but he was not hired.

 On February 18, 1992 plaintiff filed a complaint against Delta with the New York City Commission on Human Rights alleging that Delta had failed to hire him because of his sexual orientation, and because he was HIV positive.

 On August 3 the Law Enforcement Bureau of the Commission, Delta and plaintiff entered into a conciliation agreement whereby plaintiff was hired by Delta. Plaintiff also received retroactive back pay and seniority privileges as well as monetary damages.

 Paragraph 18 of the conciliation agreement provides as follows:

 
Except as required by any court or agency or upon the written consent of Doe or his attorney, Delta and the [Commission's Law Enforcement] Bureau agree not to disclose Doe's given name through any oral or written communication which identifies Doe by his given name as the plaintiff in this lawsuit or as a settling party to this Conciliation Agreement to any person that is not a party to or involved with this proceeding.

 The reference to "this lawsuit" relates to the administrative complaint described above.

 On August 4, 1992 plaintiff reported to work at Delta. Plaintiff alleges that, at the time he returned to work, none of his co-workers at Delta or former co-workers at Pan Am knew of the circumstances surrounding his employment at Delta or that he was HIV positive.

 Plaintiff contends that although he had learned of his HIV status in 1989, he had attempted to keep this information a secret. In fact, according to plaintiff, the only people to whom he had personally disclosed his HIV status were his ...


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