The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a rehearing of a 2006 ruling it rendered in the case of United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc. (CDT).
The origins of the case extend back to 2004 when the authorities issued search warrants that authorized the seizure of drug test records and specimens for ten Major League Baseball players implicated in the Balco scandal.
During the search, the government seized a computer directory containing all of the computer files for CDT’s sports drug testing programs. The computer directory contained numerous subdirectories and hundreds of files. Agents removed copies of the files for later review at government offices. Among the documents that were seized was a 25-page master list of all MLB players tested during the 2003 season and a 34-page list of positive drug testing results for eight of the ten named Balco players, intermingled with positive results for twenty-six other players. Using information culled from the computer directory, the government then applied for and obtained new search warrants to seize all specimens and records relating to more than 100 non-Balco players who had tested positive for steroids.
The panel ruled originally that the government had legally obtained the evidence.
“I’m glad to see that there is going to be a rehearing because this ruling has much broader implications than affecting a few athletes who allegedly tested positive for steroids,” Rick Karcher, a sports law expert, recently wrote. “This ruling impacts each and every citizen, because virtually all confidential records and information is stored and intermingled in electronic form on computers one way or another (hospital records, employment records, etc.).”
U.S.A. v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, INC.; 9th Cir.; No. 05-10067, No. 05-15006, No. 05-55354.; 9/30/08