New York Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul sued Schefter and ESPN six months ago after Schefter tweeted Pierre-Paul's medical chart. Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated after damaging it in a fireworks accident.
"This was a public figure and franchise player involved in a widely speculated accident with potential criminal behavior in which there was a cone of secrecy that surrounded him for five days that not even his own team could crack, Schefter told Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch in July 2015.
"The extent of his injuries were going to come to light, maybe that day or later that week, but soon. They're horrific injuries, incredibly unfortunate for the player. But in a day and age in which pictures and videos tell stories and confirm facts, in which sources and their motives are routinely questioned, and in which reporters strive to be as accurate as possible, this was the ultimate supporting proof."
The tweet is still active on Schefter's account. The ESPN NFL Insider has more 5.1 million followers.
"This action arises out of ESPN reporter Schefter's blatant disregard for the private and confidential nature of Plaintiff's medical records, all so Schefter could show the world that he had "supporting proof" of a surgical procedure," the lawsuit claims. "Schefter improperly obtained Plaintiff's medical records from a hospital and then, out of a selfish desire to "break news," electronically blasted the records to his approximately 4 million Twitter followers and made it available to anyone worldwide with Internet access."
ESPN's and Schefter's legal teams cited First Amendment protections, when they asked to dismiss the case, according to the New York Post.
Schefter did not personally violate HIPPA laws with the July 2015 tweet because those laws do not apply to journalists. If hospital employees leaked the photos to the journalists, that would violate HIPPA laws. In February, the Miami Herald reported that Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital had fired two employees for "accessing the information in violation of federal patient privacy laws" in regards to Pierre-Paul.
After the incident, the Giants rescinded Pierre-Paul's $60 million contract offer. Instead, he signed a one-year, $10 million contract, making him a free agent in 2017. The 6-foot, 5-inch, 278 pound Pierre-Paul played with a 'club' on his hand in 2015, but is going without it in 2016.
It is unknown exactly how much Pierre-Paul is asking for in the suit, or the amount that ESPN could possibly settle the lawsuit for. The lawsuit currently asks for damages north of $15,000.
Pro Football Talk reported that the "trial will commence in August 2017."
Pierre-Paul, 27, has 43 sacks and 226 tackles in six seasons with the Giants. The former first-team All-Pro is also a Super Bowl Champion.