Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Rodriguez v. Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Environment

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20053
Nos. 14-3467, (3d Cir., 03/16/2015)

The Third Circuit upheld a lower court decision dismissing, on standing grounds, a doctor's claim challenging the constitutionality of a Pennsylvania law that limits a doctor's ability to obtain information about the mixture of chemical fluids used during hydraulic fracturing when treating patients for chemical exposure. Pennsylvania Act 13 of 2012 allows a doctor to learn proprietary information about the chemicals used in fracking only if: (1) he or she verbally agrees to keep the information confidential and to use that information for a specific medical emergency; or (2) the doctor executes a confidentiality agreement and provides a written statement of need showing that the information is necessary for diagnostic or treatment purposes. The lower court held that the doctor's alleged injury was too conjectural to satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement of Article III standing, and the appellate court agreed. Although the doctor alleged that he required the information described in Act 13 to treat his patients, he did not allege that he had been in any situations where he needed or attempted to obtain such information. Nor did he claim that his communications had been constrained due to Act 13 or that he had been forced to sign a confidentiality agreement under Act 13.