11/29/2011 // San Francisco, California, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Consumer Protection Lawyer Eric Grover
San Francisco, CA (Consumer Protection Lawyer News) — In the wake of a privacy breach at Sutter Health and Sutter Medical Foundation, affecting more than 3 million people, the California consumer protection lawyers at Keller Grover LLP have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of an affected patient, whose personal information has been compromised.
Plaintiff Margaret McAneny is one of the reported 3.3 to 4 million patients whose privacy was compromised when a Sutter Medical Foundation computer was stolen from its offices in mid-October, explains McAneny’s lawyer Eric Grover, of Keller Grover LLP.
During the weekend of Oct. 15, 2011 a computer, monitors and other equipment were stolen from Sutter Medical Foundation’s Gateway Oaks Drive offices in Sacramento. The theft was only discovered when employees returned to work on Oct. 17 and found a broken window and terminal. The California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was subsequently alerted about the robbery and data breach.
“Shockingly, although the computer was password protected, the data files were not encrypted,” the San Francisco consumer protection lawyer states.
The stolen computer contained the personal information of 943,000 Sutter Medical Foundation patients, who have been treated between January 2005 and January 2011, which included the names, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers and email addresses; medical record numbers, names of health insurance providers, dates of service and descriptions of medical diagnosis and/or procedures performed. Furthermore, some of the same information as well as the patients’ health insurance plans dating from 1995, was compromised for another 3.3. million patients whose healthcare provider is supported by Sutter Physician Services.
The non-profit health system claims they were “still in the process” of encrypting data on their desktop computers, and had not yet processed the computer that was stolen from the office—although the process was started in 2007.
“As more and more highly sensitive medical information becomes computerized, it is critical that health care companies take stronger security measures to protect patients,” states the San Francisco consumer protection lawyer.
McAneny alleges that she only learned about the privacy breach on Sutter’s website one month after the breach, as she had not received any notification regarding the matter from Sutter Medical Foundation. She contacted the phone number associated with the breach, where she confirmed that her personal information had been compromised. Sutter never offered her any compensation, and instead she was told to “review their explanation of benefits and other correspondence from their insurance carrier and… report any suspicious activity immediately,” the lawsuit stated.
The California consumer protection lawyers at Keller Grover LLP are seeking a jury trial for the class action lawsuit, which charges Sutter with violating medical privacy rights under California law. The complaint is asking for damages, restitution and injunctive relief.
This news was brought to you by the Bay Area consumer protection lawyers at Keller Grover LLP.
Keller Grover is an experienced consumer protection and employment law firm that has played leading roles in numerous state and federal consumer protection and antitrust cases. Keller Grover LLP is dedicated to fighting consumer fraud and helping those who have been harmed by unfair or deceptive advertising, improper financial transactions, violations of privacy or other unlawful business practices. For more information about the consumer protection lawyers at Keller Grover and consumer protection cases, please visit www.kellergover.com.
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