Patients file suit over theft of Advocate Medical Group computers
SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE September 6, 2013 12:26PM
Updated: September 6, 2013 2:00PM
A north suburban mother and daughter who were patients of Advocate Medical Group filed a class action lawsuit Thursday after computers were stolen from its offices, alleging the health care group was negligent in protecting patients’ private data.
In a burglary July 15, two men stole four computers from an Advocate building in the 200 block of West Touhy in Park Ridge that contained identifying information including names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, the Sun-Times reported at the time.
The computers also had limited clinical information, such as health insurance data, Advocate officials said. A total of 4.03 million patients were being notified of the burglary.
Northbrook resident Pierre Petrich and her daughter, a minor, were notified of the breach of privacy by letter and filed the suit Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, according to a statement from Clifford Law Offices.
It alleges the Downers Grove-based health group was negligent in protecting private data and failed to use encryption and other basic security measures on behalf of patients, the statement said.
“In this age of advanced technology, Advocate had to realize that its unorthodox methodology for maintaining important and private data posed a risk to the safety and security of their patients,” attorney Robert Clifford said in the statement.
The suit claims negligence, violation of the consumer fraud and deceptive practices acts, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It seeks unspecified damages.
“We deeply regret any inconvenience this incident has caused our patients who have entrusted us with their care,” Advocate spokeswoman Kelly Jo Golson said in a statement.
“We are also committed to providing all individuals impacted by this incident with resources to answer their questions and tools to protect their personal information,” she said.
“Although we are unable to comment specifically on active litigation matters, we want to reassure our patients that we do not believe the data was targeted and we have no information that leads us to believe that the information has been misused,” Golson said in the statement.