Class-action status lifted in suit against West Virginia system after employee stole 7,000+ patients' data

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A class certification order in a lawsuit against Morgantown-based West Virginia University Health Systems has been lifted because the plaintiff lacked standing, according to Nov. 19 documents filed in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Four things to know:

  1. Eugene Roman, who was a patient of the health system, filed a lawsuit over a 2016 data breach. Mr. Roman's complaint sought to represent more than 7,000 patients affected by the breach. The health system said the class representatives lacked standing because they didn't suffer an injury from the employee's legitimate access to their confidential records, according to court documents.

  2. Angela Roberts, a former registration specialist at Berkeley Medical Center and Jefferson Medical Center — affiliate facilities of West Virginia University Health Systems — accessed the data of about 7,445 patients over an eight-month period in 2016. Ms. Roberts admitted to looking at each patient file with a dual purpose: for work purposes and to steal patient data for her boyfriend, Wayne Roberts, according to court documents.

  3. Ms. Roberts said that when she looked at a patient’s EHR, she was trying to determine asked herself if the patient had enough information on their accounts so she and Mr. Roberts could steal it If they did, she would give their information to Mr. Roberts. The data was stolen with the intention to commit identity theft, produce fake Social Security cards and bank fraud. Ms. Roberts pleaded pled guilty to the charges and signed a plea agreement in 2017, Herald-Mail Media reported.

  4. The court contended that Ms. Roberts legitimately looked at patient files when she stole their information. It also contended that patients whose data was stolen didn't suffer an injury sufficient to bring a class-action suit, according to court documents.

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