St. Joseph Health System Offers Largest Settlement of Its Kind in Data Breach Lawsuit

October 2, 2015 – Orange County Superior Court Judge Kim G. Dunning is considering a $28 million settlement in a class action against St. Joseph Health System for failing to properly secure the confidential medical information of over patients. If approved, the settlement will provide the largest known payout per class member in a lawsuit of its kind.

According to the Daily Journal, during the preliminary approval hearing Judge Dunning stated, “I’ve approved other settlements like this and yours is the largest payout I’ve ever seen.”

If Judge Dunning approves the settlement, it will pay each class member a minimum of $241, as well as other proposed benefits. The total cash component of the settlement is $7.5 million. The final approval hearing is scheduled for February 3, 2016.

RCRSD partner Daniel S. Robinson served as plaintiff’s co-lead counsel in the consolidated case – St. Joseph Health System Medical Information Cases, JCCP 4716 (O.C. Super. Ct., filed Dec. 12, 2012).

“We focused on aggressively pushing discovery that proved our case and supported our positions on complex legal issues that were heavily litigated,” said Robinson in the Daily Journal article. “In the end, we’re happy to achieve a significant result that we believe is favorable for the class and consumers.”

According to Robinson, the highest cash payout per person in a case of this kind was $100 in Springer v. Stanford Hospital and Clinics BC 470522 (L.A. Super. Ct., filed Sept. 28, 2011).

In February 2012, RCRSD filed a class action complaint against St. Joseph Health System for failing to secure the confidential medical information of 31,802 patients from February 2011 to February 2012. The failure to secure the data, which included histories of diagnosis, prescriptions and other confidential information, was in violation of California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (Civil Code §§ 56 et seq.). The data was accessed by Google and other search engines that downloaded, viewed, cached, indexed and analyzed the confidential medical information.

Numerous lawsuits were filed throughout California over the breach. They were consolidated into one complaint in Orange County Superior Court in December 2012. A settlement was reached by both sides in August 2015.

 

Reference

Proposed Settlement Largest Cash Payout in Data Breach Litigation History, Daily Journal, Sept. 25, 2015

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