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updated: 10/31/2013 6:11 PM

Class action lawsuit filed over stolen health data

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Two Kane County residents are seeking class action status for a lawsuit filed after the medical information for 4 million patients at Advocate Health Care was stolen from a Park Ridge office this summer.

According to a recently filed lawsuit, Aurora resident Matias Maglio and Alexander Gil -- a resident of an unidentified town in Kane County -- are seeking damages from the July 15 theft, in which four computers were stolen.

The lawsuit argues their names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and medical diagnoses were pilfered and that Advocate should be held responsible.

"There are more than 4 million individuals who have had their personal information compromised as a result of Advocate's actions and/or inaction," argues the lawsuit, which also maintains the theft was a violation of the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act and Illinois Medical Patients Rights Act.

The Downers Grove-based medical group, which operates 11 hospitals in Chicago area and suburbs, announced the theft in late August and began notifying patients then.

The lawsuit argues Advocate should have taken action sooner and was, therefore, reckless and negligent.

Advocate officials did no comment directly on the lawsuit this week, but pledged to put their patients first and take additional steps to protect their information.

"We deeply regret any inconvenience this incident has caused our patients who have entrusted us with their care," Advocate said in an email.

"Our focus continues to be delivering the highest level of care and service. We are also committed to providing all individuals impacted with tools and resources to protect their personal information. Although we are unable to comment specifically on active litigation matters, we want to reassure our patients that nothing leads us to believe the information has been misused.

"Additionally, in order to prevent an incident like this from happening again, we are enhancing our security practices and taking steps to ensure that all computers across the Advocate system are encrypted," the statement read.

Messages left this week for the plaintiff's attorney, Robert Foote, and others at his firm were not returned.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and is due in court Jan. 9, 2014.

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