Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Over UCLA Health System Data Breach

TOPIC ALERT:

Attorneys have filed a class-action lawsuit seeking as much as $16 million in damages over a data breach that exposed the personal information of more than 16,000 patients at the UCLA Health System, Modern Healthcare reports.

The Los Angeles-based law firm Kabateck Brown Kellner filed the suit in Los Angeles County Court against the regents of the University of California.

About the Breach

On Sept. 6, an external hard drive containing personal information of 16,288 UCLA patients was stolen from the home of a doctor working with the UCLA Faculty Group. The records dated from July 2007 through July 2011 (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 12/21).

The patient information on the lost hard drive was encrypted. However, a piece of paper that had the password to decode the data also is missing.

The patient information included:

  • First and last names;
  • Some birth dates;
  • Addresses;
  • Health record numbers; and
  • Health information (California Healthline, 11/7).

Lawsuit Details

The suit claims that UCLA Health System violated the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, which prohibits health care providers from disclosing patient data without consent.

Attorneys are seeking damages of $1,000 per member of the class-action suit, as well as legal fees and certain other costs (Modern Healthcare, 12/21).

Robert Forster
As long as we have people in control of the data, stupidity and thus data breaches are going to occur. The firm hand of the regulators has become the full employment act for the lawyers. How does this suit help Americans and the tax payers who will ultimately pay for it? Patients deserve security of thier personal medical records but apparently human greed and stupidity reigns. Ultimately breaches discourages patients from revealing a complete and honest medical history to their physician--I can't blame them. Privacy must be secured or the public should reconsider the benefits of a "connected heath system"

to share your thoughts on this article.