UF Health seeks to dismiss patient lawsuit over ransomware attack

Leesburg-based UF Health Central Florida and its two hospitals, UF Health The Villages Hospital and UF Health Leesburg Hospital, are asking that a lawsuit filed by a patient after a May ransomware attack be dismissed, according to documents filed Nov. 19 in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of Florida.

Five things to know:

  1. Chrystal Holmes sued the health system over a May 31 ransomware attack, which shut down its computer systems for nearly one month. The health system reported to HHS' data breach portal that 700,981 individuals were affected.

  2. Ms. Holmes, who was a patient of the health system and received a letter notifying her of the attack, filed a putative class-action complaint Sept. 3 claiming the health system was negligent, is responsible for a breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

  3. UF Health Central Florida filed to dismiss Ms. Holmes' claims. Under Florida law, being potentially exposed in a ransomware attack isn't sufficient to file a lawsuit, according to court documents. The "plaintiff must allege that she suffered a cognizable injury caused by the ransomware attack. She has not. For that reason alone, her claims must be dismissed," the court documents said.

  4. The request for dismissal also alleges that the "plaintiff has not properly pled her implied contract claim because she fundamentally fails to identify any statement where UF Health Central Florida promised to protect her information."

  5. A UF Health representative declined to comment when contacted by Becker's.

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