Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Unjust Enrichment, Selling Hospital Records
More than 740,000 patients effected.
From mainjustice.com by Jeffrey Benzing July 5, 2013
A federal judge in Florida says his courtroom is the wrong venue for a data privacy lawsuit filed in April against Adventist Health System/Sunbelt Inc. The purported class action suit, filed by former patient Richard Faircloth, claimed that private data for more than 740,000 patients across the company’s 22-campus hospital system had been comprised.
Faircloth alleged that emergency room intake employees sold personal information to outside individuals in violation of the privacy standard set out in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Faircloth concedes that HIPAA does not allow private plaintiffs to sue but he argued that claims under Florida state law hinge on privacy definitions outlined in HIPAA and thus should be decided by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton Jr., however, said the invocation of HIPAA was not enough to elevate the suit out of state court.
“These are simply state law claims for which the standard of care involves patient privacy, which happens to be regulated by HIPAA,” Dalton wrote in his dismissal order on Wednesday.
In the suit, Faircloth claims that the hospital system failed for two years to prevent intake employees from selling information to attorney referral services and chiropractors.
The complaint alleges breach of contract, breach of implied contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty.
The hospital system filed for dismissal on May 2, saying the suit didn’t belong in federal court.
We’ll have to wait and see where this leads.
The lawsuit is 6:13-cv-00572 in the Middle District of Florida