The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a 5–3 opinion that the federal government could not be sued under the Privacy Act for mental or emotional distress, The Associated Press (AP) reports. HIV-positive airline pilot Stanmore Cooper filed suit against the federal government claiming emotional distress after the Social Security Administration (SSA) revealed his status to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Cooper had informed the SSA of his status in order to receive medical benefits, but he withheld it from the FAA so that he would be considered fit to fly. The majority opinion stated that the federal government is immune to liability for mental or emotional distress unless a law specifically waives that immunity, and that the Privacy Act does not do so.

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