Get Me To Rehab And Step On It!

The Betty Ford Clinic has filed a law suit against two cab drivers. And it’s not for running over anyone or for failing to change the little evergreen air freshener. It’s actually a breach of contract suit. Apparently, the cabbies plan to publish a book about the famous people they’ve driven there. I have to say, that it would not have occurred to me that a cab driver might write a tell-all about any passengers. But it apparently occurred to the folks at the Betty Ford Clinic. The cab drivers and their company signed a confidentiality agreement in which they agreed not to “discuss, transmit, or narrate” any patients’ confidential information. They also signed the Ford Clinic’s Code of Ethics, in which they agreed to “not harm a patient, either physically or psychologically, and would not engage in any activity that could be construed as exploitation of patient for personal gain, including financial gain.” There are a few interesting points here. First, it is important to note that this is a breach of contract claim. I don’t think there’d be any invasion of privacy claim absent the contract. A cab rider has no “expectation of privacy” that the driver will not tell the world who was in the backseat. It also seems to me that the Code of Ethics may be a bigger problem for the cab drivers than the confidentiality agreement. The confidentiality agreement prohibits using confidential information. But that begs the question whether the fact that you took a cab somewhere is confidential in the first place. And in the case of the celebrities who announce their intention to check into the clinic, it hardly seems that anyone could claim confidentiality over the cab ride. The Code of Ethics seems like it is broader in scope. We will see what happens. But if you don’t want people to know you’re going to rehab, you may want to rent a car.