There has been an out-of-court settlement in a lawsuit involving Western Health that is more than a decade old.
The lawsuit began in August 2012, alleging that health authorities failed to protect patients’ personal data and violated the provincial privacy act.
The class action said more than 1,000 people were injured when Western Health employees accessed private medical files, including personal data. Employees have been fired ever since.
Bob Buckingham, one of the lawyers in the case, said it was believed to be the first deal involving health care privacy violations in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Buckingham said about 100 people have died since class action. Who said it upset those people who couldn’t see a solution or get an answer as to why their data was accessed.
“People spend years and years not knowing why their data is being accessed,” he told CBC News on Monday.
“Stress and stress on people are enormous. In particular, the stress of the plaintiff brought two people who were with us along the way. This has been on their minds every day for the past 10 years.”
Buckingham would not comment on the number of deals. because it has not yet been approved by the judge But call that number satisfactory.
invasion of solitude
Buckingham said most of the lawsuits involved a fight to admit invasion of solitude. This is a privacy-focused legal violation that is rarely handled in Newfoundland and Labrador.
An invasion of solitude can be demanded if the defendant intentionally invades the patient’s privacy. The invasion would create a great dissatisfaction with the general public. And the invasion caused the plaintiff’s pain or suffering greatly.
“All the issues are in the courts,” he said.
“Legal issues Some of the issues are unconventional in the sense that they have never been prosecuted in Newfoundland for this privacy issue. Therefore, both sides presented new arguments, new laws, new facts. and i think it is Just decided that it would be better to negotiate to resolve the issue.”
The two-week trial is scheduled to begin on Monday. But this was expected last year, Buckingham said. He said it was delayed by a cyberattack that crippled the province’s health care system in October 2021.
He believes the attack could be a factor in the health agencies’ preparedness to fight the lawsuit in court. But it is hoped that the attacks and class action prosecution will make officials take privacy seriously.
“A lot of work has to be done. And hopefully this deal will be an indication of the cost if you don’t,” he said.
“Hopefully something will happen and people’s privacy will be taken seriously. and employees who access personal data will be monitored.”
Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador.