Data-sharing lawsuit against U of Chicago Medical Center, Google dismissed

A federal judge in Illinois dismissed the class-action lawsuit against the University of Chicago Medical Center and Google, which alleged HIPAA violations.

Former University of Chicago Medical Center patient Matt Dinerstein sued Google and the hospital in June 2019, alleging the partnership between the two organizations violated HIPAA. Under the partnership, which began in 2017, the University of Chicago Medical Center shared thousands of de-identified patient records with Google to help the tech giant improve predictive analytics.

The data included time stamps for dates of service and physician notes, which Mr. Dinerstein contended violated HIPAA. The University of Chicago denied any wrongdoing and the lawsuit didn't include evidence that Google misused the information.

On Aug. 3, 2019, the University of Chicago Medical Center and Google filed motions to dismiss the class-action lawsuit because they used secure and HIPAA-compliant data sharing methods. The partners also balked at Mr. Dinerstein's allegations of consumer fraud and deceptive business practices, noting that he voluntarily gave the medical data to the university.

On Sept. 4, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer of the United States District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division dismissed the lawsuit. The court also rejected Mr. Dinerstein's claims that his medical records have commercial value to him and were stolen.

"Mr. Dinerstein has neither developed nor supported a separate argument that the common law or his contract created a legal interest in his data. Even if Mr. Dinerstein has a property interest in medical information, his allegations do not support an interference that the value of that property has been diminished by the University's or Google's actions," states the decision.

It goes on to state that Mr. Dinerstein didn't adequately demonstrate the university's alleged breach of contract caused economic damages.

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