MIAMI (CN) - An ESPN reporter leaked medical records about football star Jason Pierre-Paul's finger amputation surgery to nearly four million Twitter followers, the NFL player claims in court.
The New York Giants defensive end sued in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on Wednesday, claiming that the sports network's stalwart reporter Adam Schefter posted a picture of his medical chart to social media in the wake of a July 4 fireworks accident that cost him his right index finger.
Schefter "improperly obtained" medical records from Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami about Pierre-Paul's finger amputation and publicized them online "out of a selfish desire to 'break news,'" the complaint states.
Posted just four days after the athlete's Independence Day celebration went awry, the photo was reportedly accompanied by a caption stating, "ESPN obtained medical charts that show Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul had right index finger amputated today."
Amidst a "firestorm of public backlash for his intentional invasion of [Pierre-Paul's] privacy," Schefter allegedly said that he only published the photos "out of fear...that people would doubt the accuracy of his report that a surgery had occurred."
"In a day and age where pictures and videos tell stories and confirm facts, in which sources and their motives are routinely questioned, and in which reporters strive to be as accurate as possible, this was the ultimate supporting proof," the journalist reportedly told Sports Illustrated.
In the same interview, Schefter "admitted...that he 'could have and should have' done even more to protect [Pierre-Paul's] private medical records," the football player's lawsuit states.
ESPN's website, meanwhile, bills Schefter as "one of the top reporters in the industry, especially when it comes to breaking news," and cites a social media study where he was named "the most influential New Yorker on Twitter."
Pierre-Paul is seeking unspecified punitive damages against the network and Schefter for invasion of privacy and an alleged violation of Florida law, which the Giants star says prohibits disclosure of the documents.
Schefter's offending post also constitutes an invasion of the football player's privacy, he claims, contending that its publication was "highly offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities."
"While [news of] the amputation may have been of legitimate public concern, the chart itself was not," the complaint states.
Pierre-Paul missed half of the Giants' 2015 season while recuperating from his surgery, but returned to the field in Week 9 for the team's final eight games.
ESPN declined to comment on the matter in a Thursday afternoon email from senior communications director Bill Hofheimer.
Pierre-Paul is represented by Mitchell Schuster and Kevin Fritz of Manhattan firm Meister, Seelig & Fein.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.