We believe the alleged breach violates the New Jersey AIDS Assistance Act and other privacy laws.
ROSELAND, N.J. (PRWEB) October 27, 2017
Brach Eichler LLC has filed a law suit against health insurer Aetna, Inc. and others, alleging breach of privacy relating to mailings the company sent as part of the settlement of previous privacy-based lawsuits against the insurer relating to patient HIV-medication status. Members Lani M. Dornfeld, Esq. and Edward P. Capozzi, Esq. and Associate Dennis Shlionsky, Esq. represent the plaintiffs in the action.
The suit was submitted to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County Law Division, last week. Aetna’s privacy breach is believed to have involved the private HIV medication information of more than 12,000 Aetna insureds. The New Jersey suit, John Smith and Richard Becker (Fictitious Designations) vs. Aetna, Inc.; Aetna Health Inc.; Aetna Specialty Pharmacy, LLC; ABC Corporation (1-10) and Doe Vendor, Docket No. ESX-L-007541-17, may be the first suit related to the Aetna breach to be filed in the State of New Jersey.
The New Jersey suit filed by Brach Eichler alleges violation of the New Jersey AIDS Assistance Act, as well as invasion of privacy and negligence on the part of Aetna and the other defendants. (ABC Corporation is a class of fictitiously named individuals or entities responsible for the disclosure and/or presentation of private medical information regarding the plaintiffs, and Doe Vendor is a class of fictitiously named individuals and/or entities representing the unidentified vendor that Aetna used to send its mailing.) The complaint alleges the case is about “Aetna’s repeated failure to respect the privacy rights of people who are taking HIV medications.”
Dornfeld, a member in Brach Eichler’s health law practice who devotes a significant portion of her practice to HIPAA and privacy-related matters, said, “We believe the alleged breach violates the New Jersey AIDS Assistance Act and other privacy laws. The AIDS Assistance Act was passed by the New Jersey legislature to place strict privacy safeguards around HIV and HIV-related information in order to protect individuals from the very type of harm and stigmatism suffered by these plaintiffs.” Dornfeld noted that the act provides for punitive damages, which the plaintiffs are seeking in this case.
The Brach Eichler complaint alleges that in sending out notices to beneficiaries taking HIV medications, which occurred in or about July 2017, “Aetna again failed to recognize the dangers associated with sending information about HIV medications through the mail.” The complaint further alleges that, rather than sending the notices in an opaque envelope, the envelope used for the notices contained a large window, covering almost half of the front of the envelope, in which “instructions about how individuals could obtain their HIV medications were visible from the outside of the envelope.”
According to Capozzi, who chairs Brach Eichler’s personal injury practice, “The plaintiffs in the New Jersey action allege, among other things, severe and disabling emotional distress and insult, embarrassment, humiliation, increased stress and anxiety.”
About Brach Eichler LLC
Brach Eichler LLC is a full-service law firm based in Roseland, N.J. With over 70 attorneys, the firm is focused in the following practice areas: Health Law, Real Estate, Litigation, Trusts & Estates, Business Transactions & Financial Services, Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Government Investigations, Employment Services, Environmental & Land Use, Family Law, Patent, Intellectual Property & Information Technology, Real Estate Tax Appeals, and Tax. Brach Eichler attorneys have been recognized by clients and peers alike in Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, and New Jersey Super Lawyers. Visit http://www.bracheichler.com.