Doctor’s Claims Against Employee Over Stolen Hard Drive Revived

Mary Anne Pazanowski reports:

A Utah physician can proceed with several claims against a former employee who allegedly stole a computer hard drive containing patient information and used it to support a False Claims Act complaint against the physician, a federal court in the state said.

Sherman Sorensen’s second amended complaint alleged enough facts to move forward on federal Defend Trade Secrets Act and state-law misappropriation of trade secret, conversion, receipt of stolen property, and civil conspiracy claims against Gerald Polukoff, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah said Tuesday.

Read more on Bloomberg Law (subscription required).

I will not comment on the legal issues here, but the case didn’t sound familiar to me, and if Dr. Sorensen had alleged that Dr. Polukoff had stolen patients’ PHI on a hard drive, then I would have expected to see some report to HHS. But I can find no such report on HHS’s breach tool — not in the “under consideration” nor in the archive of reports. And not under the doctor’s name, nor the medical practice name, nor the name of their tech vendor who, according to the second amended complaint, gave the hard drive to the defendant, believing that he was entitled to it.

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