Veterans file a lawsuit over the health data breach at the VA in South Carolina

07 May 2013

Two veterans have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs over a recent data breach at the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in in Columbia, S.C., The State reports.

About the Data Breach

In February, VA officials reported that a laptop was missing from a testing lab in the Dorn medical center’s respiratory therapy department.

In a statement, Dorn said the laptop contained data on more than 7,000 patients who received pulmonary function tests on a specific machine since 2006. According to Dorn, the data on the laptop included patients’:

  • Name;
  • Birthdate;
  • Last four digits of Social Security numbers;
  • Race;
  • Test results; and
  • Weight (Monk, The State, 5/1).

Lawsuit Details

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Columbia, S.C., by the Mike Kelly Law Group and attorney Doug Rosinski on behalf of veterans Richard Beck and Lakreshia Jeffery (Brino, Government Health IT, 5/3).

The suit states that the data breach puts veterans at risk of identity theft and medical insurance fraud (The State, 5/1).

It also alleges that the “willful and intentional actions and reckless disregard” of VA officials compromised veterans’ data in violation of HIPAA, the Administrative Procedure Act and the Privacy Act (Government Health IT, 5/3).

In addition, the suit claims that VA failed to implement basic computer safeguards, even after a 2006 data breach exposed information on more than 17 million veterans and their families (The State, 5/1).

The suit is seeking class-action status, as well as unspecified damages (Government Health IT, 5/3).

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