Penn. court dismisses healthcare breach class-action lawsuit

An appeals court in Pennsylvania upheld a decision that found a health plan was not in violation of state consumer protection laws after a data breach, reports Law360.

Plaintiff Avrum Baum filed a class-action lawsuit against Keystone Mercy Health Plan and AmeriHealth Mercy Health Plan after Keystone officials reported a missing flash drive in September 2010. The flash drive contained protected health information, including personal identification umbers, Social Security numbers, health information and financial information of 286,000 members, one of which was allegedly Mr. Baum's daughter.

Mr. Baum filed the lawsuit in December 2010 claiming the health plans violated the privacy rights of the members and that they inaccurately said personal information was secure.

In July 2013, a trial judge denied classifying the lawsuit as a class action, saying the complaint did not rely on any deceptive conduct by the health plan, according to the report.

Now, the appeals court reaffirmed the trial judge's decision and said there is no demonstrated link between Mr. Baum's daughter with the information on the lost flash drive, so Mr. Baum could not represent potential class members, according to the report.

"It represents a strong stand by a Pennsylvania appellate court that an individual who cannot demonstrate actual harm is unable to represent a class, and that the idea of hypothetical harm is not sufficient grounds on which to sustain a class action certification," said Stuart Gerson, an attorney representing the payers, in the report.

More articles on data breaches:

Calif. chiropractor burgled, warns 600 patients of potential data breach
Not-so-sensitive data: The case for unprotected health information
3 patterns of healthcare data breaches and more: Highlights from Verizon's 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report

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