Suburban AIDS patients say Elgin clinic 'leaked' medical records
An Elgin medical clinic is being sued by five AIDS patients, two of whom say their identities were stolen after sensitive records were leaked online.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Kane County Circuit Court accuses the Open Door Clinic of Greater Elgin of negligence, invasion of privacy and breach of confidentiality.
According to the complaint, the clinic "negligently and wrongfully leaked, disseminated and disclosed" a list containing sensitive information on 260 patients over an online file-sharing network between May 2008 and last July. As a result, the identities of at least two patients were stolen.
Open Door Clinic, 164 Division St., Elgin, is a not-for-profit corporation that treats and consults patients infected with HIV/AIDS. Multiple attempts Friday to reach its administration for comment were unsuccessful.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status and more than $50,000 in damages, doesn't name the plaintiffs but says they are four men and one woman who live in Aurora, Elgin, Naperville, Schaumburg and St. Charles. It says their information was compromised when a file-sharing program was added to a computer at the clinic or belonging to an employee of the clinic, essentially making public hard-drive content that included a "master list" of patient data.
The information was downloaded by at least one user in Apache Junction, Ariz., who "continues to re-share" it over the Web, the lawsuit says.
"It is not a question of whether the remaining plaintiffs and the class members who are similarly situated will be victimized rather it is a question of when they will be victimized," according to the 18-page lawsuit. "The clinic may have leaked other files containing patients' personally identifiable information during this same time period."
The complaint notes information related to a person having AIDS is "among the most sensitive and confidential information about an individual that can exist."
The case goes before a judge on May 13 in Geneva.