Data theft results in court battle

LOS ANGELES, Nov 23, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Harris & Ruble, a prominent class-action law firm based in Los Angeles, announced their November 16, 2011, filing of a class-action lawsuit against Sutter Medical Foundation and Sutter Physician Services, alleging the medical provider did not properly safeguard medical information for more than 4 million of its patients affected by the mid-October theft of a computer from the Sutter Medical Foundation headquarters. The suit was filed on the same day that Sutter admitted the unencrypted stolen computer contained patients' medical records. Sutter officials have acknowledged this is the largest data breach the health network has ever experienced as it impacts millions of patients seen in their facilities between 2005 and 2011. Filed in Alameda County Superior Court on behalf of plaintiff Javier Garcia, the class-action lawsuit alleges Sutter was negligent in protecting patient information stored in computer databases and failed to properly notify patients within the timeframes required by law. A month earlier - October 17, 2011 - a computer with unencrypted patient data was reported stolen from the administrative offices of the Sutter Medical Foundation. Patients first learned of the security breach from the media and did not receive notices from Sutter until late last week. Some 3.3 million patients with providers supported by Sutter Physician Services and 943,000 Sutter Medical Foundation patients are affected. The stolen data includes names, addresses, email addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers, health insurance plans, and in some cases, descriptions of medical diagnoses or procedures. The Defendants "utterly failed to protect private medical information for the millions of patients who entrusted their healthcare and private information to these companies," said attorney Alan Harris. "Securing equipment and encrypting data were not a priority for Sutter and now patients will have to worry about what medical or insurance information is out there for others to view. That Pat Fry, Sutter Health President and CEO, has acknowledged his responsibility to work harder to protect such information in the future, does not excuse the failure to safeguard the confidential information that has already been disclosed." For additional information, patients impacted by this data breach may contact: Alan Harris Harris & Ruble 6424 Santa Monica Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90038 (323) 962-3777 [email protected] SOURCE: Harris & Ruble

Lee Johnstone

Lee Johnstone

Information Security Data Analyst, Investigative Journalist, Technology Lover, Mechanic.

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