Supreme Court Limits Invasion Of Privacy Damage Payments

By a 5-3 majority, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket damages.

Supreme Court Limits Invasion of Privacy Damages

Under Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling, whistle-blowers like Linda Tripp (seen here in 1998) have few options in suing the government for damages. Mark Wilson / Reuters/Landov

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The Supreme Court has dealt privacy advocates a huge setback. By a 5-3 majority, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket damages. And whistle-blower lawyers say that leaves victims who suffer emotional trouble and smeared reputations with few if any options.

Justice Samuel Alito and all four of his conservative colleagues turned back a challenge from a pilot named Stan Cooper. (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.)

Cooper said the Social Security Administration, which was sending him disability benefits, had improperly shared his HIV status with transportation officials…..

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