Constitutional Law: Privacy

Thompson v. State of Montana and Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. and Montana State Fund [10/18/05] 2005 MTWCC 53 Mont. Const., Art. II, § 10, prohibits insurers or their representatives from engaging in ex parte communications with a claimant’s treating health care provider under the auspices of either section 39-71-604(3), MCA (2003), or section 50-16-527(5), MCA (2003).
Flynn and Miller v. Montana State Fund and Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [11/05/04] 2004 MTWCC 75 The right of privacy extends only to information as to which an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy as measured by societal expectations. Pengra v. State, 2000 MT 291, 302 Mont. 276, 14 P.3d 499; Jefferson County v. Montana Standard, 2003 MT 304, 318 Mont. 173, 79 P.3d 805. Claimants in workers' compensation cases do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to their identities and information pertaining to their entitlement to benefits, at least with respect to attorneys who have established their entitlement to further benefits under the common fund doctrine and where the attorneys are prohibited from disseminating information regarding their identities and claims to others.

(VanHorn) Killion v. State Fund [4/22/99] 1999 MTWCC 30 Section 39-71-721(5), MCA, which provides that workers' compensation benefits to a surviving spouse terminate upon remarriage, does not violate constitutional protections of privacy. While claimant argues the insurer's inquiries regarding her marital status invaded her privacy, the record does not indicate that claimant in fact sought to keep her marital status private in any other context. Moreover, society does not recognize a reasonable expectation of privacy in one's marital status.