Lawsuit filed against Lehigh Valley Health Network after ransomware gang leaks sensitive patient data online
The following lawsuit and press release were predictable. Could LVHN have protected sensitive patient information better? If so, is less than perfect security somehow “negligent?” And if they are found to be negligent, how will LVHN be held accountable, and how on earth will patients ever come close to being made whole from a breach that is so distressing? DataBreaches suspects that we will never find out by a jury trial and that this case will settle without any admission of wrongdoing by LVHN. What will HHS do, though, when it investigates this incident?
Class-action lawyers at Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, P.C., today filed the first lawsuit ( J. Doe v. Lehigh Valley Health Network, Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas, No. 23-CV-1149), against the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) seeking justice on behalf of the cancer patients whose nude, medical-record photos appeared on the internet following a “preventable” and “seriously damaging” data breach, according to the filing. Negligence, breach of contract and privacy are among the claims asserted, all linked to the incident, acknowledged in early February by LVNH after it allegedly prioritized money over patient privacy and refused to pay the hackers to keep the pictures private.
The complaint asserts that “while LVHN is publicly patting itself on the back for standing-up to these hackers and refusing to meet their ransom demands, they are consciously and intentionally ignoring the real victims: Plaintiff and the Class.” It also alleges that patients were unaware that the photos of them were part of their medical files, let alone susceptible to theft.
Besides seeking class-action status under Pennsylvania law, the complaint states that lead plaintiff, a LVNH cancer patient from Dunmore, Lackawanna County, identified in the lawsuit as J. Doe to protect her privacy – after it was allegedly breached by LVNH – and the other class members are entitled to punitive damages for “LVHN’s reckless, wanton and willful conduct in allowing nude images of cancer patients to be knowingly posted on the internet.”
While LVHN has directed outrage at those that hacked into its patient information systems, the lawsuit contends that it “breached its duty to Plaintiff and the Class by failing to adopt, implement, and maintain reasonable security measures to safeguard their Sensitive Information,” and, therefore, should be held accountable for its negligent actions, or inactions.
Read the remainder of the press release on Newswires.
Mike Smith - March 13, 2023
You forgot to mention paying Russian hackers is a clear violation of sanctions.