I don’t think anyone would disagree that it is never a good idea
to leave anything in an unattended vehicle, especially not anything of
value, and especially not something of value to hundreds of thousands
of people. Well, that is just what happened in 2006 when an employee of
Providence Health Services drove a hospital van home and left it there
overnight. Someone broke into the vehicle and stole the medical records,
including social security numbers, for some 365,000 patients.
The theft was a wakeup call in many ways, and there are more privacy laws
and procedures in place to protect consumers. Still, some people wanted
Providence to pay for their mistake and filed a lawsuit for negligence
in 2007. The lawsuit was dismissed due to lack of supporting evidence,
and just recently the state’s Supreme Court upheld the decision.
Back in 2007 a judge ruled that the patients had already been fairly compensated
and that there was no evidence the stole information had been used.
Providence compensated those affected by offering credit protection services.
They also paid state and federal fines for breach of security.
For more on this story, see