Second Lawsuit Filed Over Community Health Systems Data Breach

October 14, 2014 in News

A second class-action lawsuit has been filed against Community Health Systems after its network was hacked in August alleging that the health system failed to implement and follow security procedures, Clinical Innovation Technology reports (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 10/10).

Background

In mid-August, CHS announced that an external group of hackers attacked its computer network and stole the non-medical data of 4.5 million patients.

Later that month, five Alabama residents filed a class-action lawsuit against CHS alleging that the provider did not inform those potentially affected by the data breach in a timely manner. The suit also alleges that CHS did not have proper security standards in place to protect patients’ sensitive health information (iHealthBeat, 9/3).

Details of New Lawsuit

The second lawsuit — which was filed in the 4th Judicial District Court in New Mexico — was brought by New Mexico resident Briana Brito. In the suit, Brito alleges that CHS’ “failure to implement and follow basic security procedures” resulted in her personal information landing “in the hand of thieves” (Tahir, Modern Healthcare, 10/13).

Two law firms — Slack Davis and The Branch Law Firm — are handling the suit on behalf of Brito and affected patients in other states who are interested in joining the case.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs “face a substantial increased risk of identity theft” as a result of the data breach. It also alleges that Brito “contracted for services that included a guarantee by defendants to safeguard her personal information and, instead, [she] received services devoid of these very important protections” (Goedert, Health Data Management, 10/13).

The lawsuit does not request a specific amount in damages.

Slack Davis attorney Paula Knippa said a response to the complaint likely will be filed by the end of October.

Meanwhile, the two law firms are initiating a campaign to alert people of the breach and to potentially recruit additional clients to join the suit (Modern Healthcare, 10/13).

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