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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (CN) - A man claims a nurse at the clinic where he was treated for a sexually transmitted disease sent "ridiculing and taunting" text messages about his disease to his girlfriend. The 22-year-old John Doe demands punitive damages from the Guthrie Healthcare System.

Doe says he was referred to Guthrie Clinic Steuben in Corning, N.Y., after being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease.

The referring clinic is not named in the federal complaint.

Doe claims a nurse at Guthrie-Steuben, Magan Stalbird, obtained his health records, including the STD for which he was being treated.

Stalbird is not listed as a defendant.

"While Mr. Doe was waiting to be seen and during his appointment, Ms. Stalbird over the course of two hours sent at least six unauthorized, ridiculing and taunting text messages via cell phone regarding Mr. Doe's sexually transmitted disease and confidential personal health information to Mr. Doe's girlfriend, Jessica," the complaint states.

Doe says that his girlfriend is Stalbird's sister-in-law.

"As Mr. Doe's girlfriend received the messages from Ms. Stalbird, she forwarded via cell phone the messages to Mr. Doe's cell phone while he was waiting for and during his appointment," the complaint states. "Mr. Doe was understandably mortified that a nurse at the clinic was broadcasting his personal health information outside the clinic."

As a result, Doe says, word about his STD has spread throughout his hometown of Corning, "exposing him to widespread derision and deep personal embarrassment."

Doe says that Stalbird was fired from the clinic, but he no longer trusts the place, "even though he was specifically referred to Guthrie Health as the best place to go for treatment of his disease."

Doe says he has had to seek treatment at less respected facilities. He claims that his employment opportunities have been jeopardizes and "that he can no longer safely socialize in his own hometown without the stigma of his disease shading every interaction and relationship he has."

Doe adds that he was forced to file a criminal complaint against Stalbird's husband, "who was known to Mr. Doe to have a violent history and personality," and to seek an order of protection from the Corning Police after the husband threatened to kill him and his girlfriend.

Doe claims Stalbird's husband called Doe's girlfriend and left this voicemail message: "'When I get home from [military] training I'm going to fucking kill you. Then I'm going to find [John Doe] and kill him. So you better hide. ... Leave Magan the fuck alone.'" (Ellipses and brackets as in complaint.)

Doe sued numerous Guthrie subsidiaries, alleging breach of duty, medical privacy violations, breach of contract, negligence and intentional and reckless infliction of emotional distress.

He seeks $800,000 in compensatory damages, and punitive damages.

He is represented by Michael Cobbs with Brown & Hutchinson of Rochester.

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