Quest Diagnostics Privacy BreachNovember 16, 2015
On November 16, 2015, the firm filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Quest Diagnostics, Inc. ("Quest") and others for their role in a massive breach of patient privacy.
The lawsuit, entitled Jane Doe v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc., et al., 15-cv-8992 (LGS), alleges that, for as long as a year, hundreds of medical records, containing the personal and protected data of patients in and around the New York area, were being transmitted to a Brooklyn-based marketing firm – rather than to Quest, the intended recipient. Although Quest was alerted early on to the breach, the company did nothing to prevent the continued transmissions, failed to alert medical providers and patients, and failed to report the breach to authorities. As a result, the personal and sensitive medical information of hundreds of patients was disclosed to unauthorized third-parties, putting their security and privacy at great risk.
Under both federal and state law, it is a violation of law to send protected medical data to unauthorized third-parties. When breaches are discovered, medical service providers such as Quest are required to provide immediate notice to individuals affected. Entities are also required to report such breaches to the Department of Health and Human Services, notify other providers affected or involved in the breach, and alert major media outlets when greater than 500 people are affected. In this case, Quest did nothing.
"That Quest was on notice of this massive data breach for perhaps a year or more, and yet failed to take any responsible or required action, amounts to an egregious dereliction of duty," stated firm partner, Jeffrey Norton. "Through this lawsuit, we intend to make sure something like this does not occur again."
Just a day after this action was filed, on November 17, 2015, NBC news investigative reporter Pei-Sze Cheng ran a story covering the massive data breach. A link to that story is provided here: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/Medical-Records-Mix-up-Investigation-Doctor-Privacy-351060331.html.