County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court of Orange County
County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court of Orange County (California Court of Appeal, 4th District, Div. 1, June 15, 2021): Los Angeles County and other local jurisdictions challenged a California superior court order compelling the provision of identifiable opioid prescription data and substance abuse treatment records to a third-party vendor for de-identification on request from the defendant in the action, Johnson & Johnson. Plaintiffs argued the order violated privacy rights guaranteed by California’s Constitution. The California Court of Appeal vacated the superior court’s order, finding a substantial invasion of privacy rights given the potential for a data breach, the chilling effect such disclosure could have on individuals seeking treatment, and the potential for re-identification. The court was particularly concerned about a lack of standards governing the de-identification process. Further, Johnson & Johnson’s justifications for compelling the records did not outweigh the challengers’ privacy interests. Read the full decision here.