$39.5 Million Settlement Approved in St. Joseph Health System Medical Information Cases
Posted in on March 9, 2016
February 3, 2016 – A California state court judge granted final approval to a $39.5 million settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by consumers against St. Joseph Health System (“SJHS”) alleging SJHS violated certain medical information confidentiality laws designed to prevent healthcare providers from negligently releasing patient information.
The coordinated cases, the first of which were originally filed February 17, 2012, in Orange County Superior Court, alleged SJHS violated the medical information confidentiality laws when SJHS allowed the information of over 31,000 SJHS patients to be publicly accessible on the Internet between approximately February 2011 and February 2012. The information included diagnoses lists, active medication lists, lab results, medication allergies, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, smoking status, advance directive status, and demographic information, including spoken language, ethnicity, race, gender and birth date.
Co-Lead Class Counsel Daniel S. Robinson, a consumer rights attorney and partner at Robinson Calcagnie, Inc., led the almost four-year litigation and settlement effort on behalf of the certified Class of consumers, which included extensive discovery, over 20 depositions and review of tens of thousands of documents. Robinson stated, “We focused on aggressively pursuing discovery that proved our case and supported our positions on complex legal issues that were heavily litigated.”
The settlement was approved preliminarily by the court on October 2, 2015. Prior to the court granting final approval on February 3, 2016, only six consumers opted out of the settlement and no person objected. The settlement provides the following benefits: (1) $7.5 million to Participating Settlement Class Members (with each Participating Settlement Class Member getting at least $242.17, (2) potential reimbursement of certain identity theft losses and out-of-pocket expenses from a $3 million fund, (3) enhanced security measures at SJHS valued at over $17 million, (4) a prior year of identity theft/credit monitoring valued at over $4.5 million, and (5) separately paid attorneys’ fees, costs and incentive awards to the class representatives.
“In the end, we’re happy to achieve a significant result that we believe is favorable for the class and consumers,” said Robinson. “To my knowledge, the cash payment in this settlement is 2.4 times the highest per-person cash payment in any data breach class action. And, the cash payment is non-reversionary; the total amount of any uncashed checks will either be redistributed to Participating Settlement Class Members who cash their first checks, or to the Public Law Center as the agreed upon cy pres recipient.”
The Settlement Class includes all SJHS patients whose confidential medical information was made publicly accessible on the Internet by Defendants at any point from February 1, 2011 through February 28, 2012. Consumers can also learn more about this case by visiting www.sjhsdatabreachclassaction.com.
Mr. Robinson’s practice areas include defective drug product liability, business litigation, mass torts, catastrophic personal injury, class actions and complex litigation. He was recently appointed as Interim Co-Lead Counsel in the nationwide consolidated data breach litigation against Experian Holdings, Inc. and Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (“Experian”), In Re Experian Data Breach Litigation, Case No. 8:15-cv-01592-AG-DFM. Robinson Calcagnie, Inc. is a law firm with more than 25 lawyers who concentrate in class actions, mass tort and personal injury litigation. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.robinsonfirm.com. Call the firm toll-free at (888) 348-8855 for a free case evaluation.