BJC HealthCare Email Data Breach Lawsuit Not Yet Dismissed

Two former patients filed a class-action lawsuit against BJC HealthCare in relation to an email data breach in March 2020, but the lawsuit has made it through two motions to dismiss.

Bradley Dean Taylor and Leaha Sweet took legal action against BJC HealthCare based in St. Louis-based last September 2020 after getting notifications about the potential compromise of their protected health information (PHI) in a data breach.

BJC HealthCare had learned that unauthorized persons had accessed the email accounts of three employees. The accounts had a selection of sensitive patient information such as driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers, birth dates, patient account numbers, medical record numbers, and treatment and clinical data.

The lawsuit had 10 counts charged against the defendants including breach of contract, unjust enrichment, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligence, negligence per se, invasion of privacy, bailment, vicarious liability, and breach of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFA) and the Missouri Merchandising Practicing Act (MMPA).

The defendants BJC Collaborative, LLC and BJC HealthCare each submitted two motions to dismiss, reasoning that the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois was without personal jurisdiction on BJC HealthCare, that the plaintiffs were unable to allege an injury enough to grant standing, that the complaint must be entirely dismissed for its inability to assert a claim, and that personal counts must be terminated for the inability to assert a claim.

On June 29, 2021, Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosentengel sacked the invasion of privacy allegation since Illinois legislation declares that the party charging an invasion of privacy should prove the act was deliberate. The plaintiffs could not establish that was the case. The allegation of bailment was likewise sacked since the plaintiffs failed to allege that they required a return of their property (their PHI) or that the health system was unable to give it back.

The lawsuit will move forward and BJC Healthcare needs to face the other 8 counts.

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Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA