IRS sued for improperly seizing the medical records of 10 million Americans

Medical_Records-1From The Daily Caller, by Caroline May, 05/15/2013 – Amid a firestorm about the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting conservative  groups and wide concern that the tax service will be administering Obamacare,  the IRS is also the subject of a class action lawsuit alleging that 15 of its  agents improperly seized 10 million Americans’ medical records.

Attorney Robert Barnes filed the lawsuit in mid-March  on behalf of a John Doe Company and individuals whose records were seized in  California Superior Court, according to a report from the Courthouse News Service.

“This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several  Internal Revenue Service (‘IRS’) agents (collectively referred to as  ‘Defendants’ herein) during a raid of John Doe Company, in the southern district  of California, on March 11, 2011,” the complaint, quoted by Courthouse News, reads. “In a case  involving solely a tax matter involving a former employee of the company, these  agents stole more than 60,000,000 medical records of more than 10,000,000  Americans, including at least 1,000,000 Californians.”

The complaint explains there was no warrant authorizing the seizure of the  medical records and the records were not germane to the IRS search. The  complaint alleges that the seizure violated the 4th Amendment,  according to the extensive quotes from the complaint complied by Courthouse News.

“These medical records contained intimate and private information of more  than 10,000,000 Americans, information that by its nature includes information  about treatment for any kind of medical concern, including psychological  counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual or drug treatment, and a wide range  of medical matters covering the most intimate and private of concerns,” the  complaint reads.

The records are believed to concern the medical records of every judge in  California, every state court employee in California, members of the Screen  Actors Guild and Directors Guild, and people in “all walks of life.”

“The search warrant authorized the seizure of financial records related  principally to a former employee of the company; it did not authorize any  seizure of any health care or medical record of any persons, least of all third  parties completely unrelated to the matter,” the complaint, as quoted by the news outlet explains further.

“[E]ven though defendants knew that the records they were seizing were not  included within the scope of the search warrant, the defendants nonetheless  searched and seized the records without making any attempt to segregate the  files from those that could possibly be related to the search warrant,” it adds.  “In fact, no effort was made at all to even try maintaining the illusion of  legitimacy and legality.”

The complaint, as quoted by Courthouse News, further alleges that the agents  used the company’s facilities to watch basketball, order pizza and Coca Cola  “illustrating their complete disregard of the court’s order and the Plaintiffs’  Fourth Amendment rights.”

The complaint seeks $25,000 in compensatory damages per individual, according to Courthouse News, a declaratory judgment protecting the information seized as  well as the return and elimination of the records from all government  databases.

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