Bloomberg Law’s combination of innovative analytics, research tools and practical guidance provides you with everything you need to be a successful litigator.
A veterans hospital that lost a laptop with the unencrypted data of more than 7,400 patients is off the hook for Privacy Act violations, the Fourth Circuit held Feb. 6 ( Beck v. McDonald , 2017 BL 34989, 4th Cir., No. 15-1715, 2/6/17 ).
The court joined the First and Fifth Circuits in holding that an increased risk of future identity theft isn’t a concrete enough injury to sue over. There is a circuit split on the issue, with the Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits holding an increased risk is sufficient to justify a lawsuit.
Here, a group of former patients claimed the hospital failed to follow proper policies and procedures for storing data by not encrypting the laptop that was stolen.
Data on the laptop included names, birth dates, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and physical descriptions.The patients claimed their risk of future identity theft was increased by the loss of the data, and that they should be able to sue.
This argument is “too speculative” Judge Albert Diaz wrote for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
There’s no evidence the information on the laptop has been accessed or that it was stolen with the intent to steal their information, it said.
Furthermore, the more time that passes, the more speculative the “threatened injuries” become, the court said.
Judges Paul V. Niemayer and Irene M. Keeley, sitting by designation from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, joined the opinion.
Mike Kelly Law Group, LLC, represented the patients. The South Carolina U.S. attorney’s office represented the hospital.
To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)