CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys have filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Chicago-area patients whose unencrypted personal information was stored on four computers stolen from a medical group's office.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court, claims Advocate Medical Center should have done more to protect patient information. The lead plaintiffs are a Northbrook mother and her daughter, but their attorneys say millions of Advocate patients were affected by the security breach.
Advocate Medical Group notified patients last month that burglars stole four computers from its administrative offices in Park Ridge on July 15.
Patients' names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers were among the data kept in the computers, which were password-protected but not encrypted. Patient medical records weren't stored on the computers, but the stolen data did include some clinical information such as diagnoses.
Advocate Health spokeswoman Kelly Jo Golson released a written statement Friday expressing regret for "any inconvenience this incident has caused" patients.
"Although we are unable to comment specifically on active litigation matters, we want to reassure our patients that we do not believe the data was targeted and we have no information that leads us to believe that the information has been misused," Golson said in the statement. Advocate is offering credit-monitoring services to patients.
Chicago-based Clifford Law Offices, which is representing lead plaintiffs Pierre Petrich and her daughter, Amara, announced the lawsuit in a press release Friday.
"There is just no excuse for this negligence, and the harm that this has caused so many, many people is something that could have been avoided had proper precautions been taken," Robert Clifford, a senior partner at Clifford Law Offices, said in the release.