Status: Summary judgment granted to plaintiff.
In July 2004, Elisa D. Cooper discovered that internal, technical computer information available on a public web site maintained for computer maintenance purposes by her former employer, Kaiser Health Plan, included patient information. She posted a link to the data on her blog, Corporate Ethics (http://www.livejournal.com/users/corphq/), and later posted the information itself. She also filed a complaint with the federal Office of Civil Rights, which enforces the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). That office, in turn, notified Kaiser, which sought and eventually received a preliminary injunction against Cooper’s posting of the material, arguing that her dissemination of it violated the confidentiality agreement that Cooper signed while working for the company. The California Department of Managed Health Care then ordered Cooper to remove the material -- its first action against an individual, rather than a health plan, since the agency’s founding in 2000. The agency also fined Kaiser $200,000 for posting the patient data to a publicly-accessible site. In the suit against Cooper, the court granted summary judgment to Kaiser on Dec. 19, 2005. Cooper’s appeal of this was dropped.
Links and Court Documents:
Docket available via http://www.alameda.courts.ca.gov/domainweb/