Medical Records Stolen, Posted Online 2020-02-26T22:51:11+00:00


Medical Record Data Breach and HIPAA Violation

$300,000 Verdict

Publication: Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter Published: 8/23/2019

(MMM 43/5) Victim A v Dr. Chung Song 17L-4999 Tried May 22-28, 2019 (12Z)

Verdict: $300,000 on negligence count ($150,000 emotional distress; $150,000 embarrassment and humiliation; 0$ loss of normal life); Not Guilty on invasion of privacy count. Special Interrogatories: Did Dr. Song give publicity to Victim A’s private life? “No.” Were Charon Harper’s actions the sole proximate cause of Victim A’s claimed injuries? “No.”Judge: Joan E. Powell (IL Cook-Law)

Judge: Joan E. Powell (IL Cook-Law)

Pltf Attys: Dean J. Caras and Carissa J. Meyer of Caras Law Group Demand: $1,000,000 Asked: $600,000

Deft Attys: Stacey A. Cischke and Daniel M. Yukich of Johnson & Bell (ISMIE) Offer: none

Deft Expert: Dr. Steven DeAngeles (Internist)

Pltf maintained deft gynecologist Chung Song failed to properly safeguard her confidential medical records and negligently allowed a third party to remove her records from his office. That third party, Charon Harper, then posted pltf’s private medical information on Facebook for anyone to view. Dr. Song (M-78) had no idea that pltf’s entire medical file was missing from his office until after pltf discovered her records had been posted Facebook. Harper was also a patient of Dr. Song, but it was unknown how she gained access to pltf’s file. She apparently stole the records in the belief that her boyfriend had attempted to befriend pltf on Facebook. In addition to the medical records, Harper posted derogatory comments about the pltf and her medical condition. Pltf F-27 sued Dr. Song for negligence, invasion of privacy, and violation of the Illinois Medical Patient Rights Act, 410 ILCS 50/3(d) and 50/4, which state that each physician shall refrain from disclosing the nature or details of services provided to patients and any physician that violates a patient’s rights is guilty of a petty offense. Pltf F-27, a state employee, contended she sustained severe emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation as a result of the release and publication of her private and privileged medical records and condition. The defense for Dr. Song argued that he took all precautions to safeguard pltf’s records, but someone else was the sole proximate cause of his inability to do so. Dr. Song admitted it was his responsibility to safeguard pltf’s records and not allow them to leave his office. The jury concluded he was guilty of negligence for failing to protect the records, but not guilty on the invasion of privacy count because he did not actually publish the information. Dr. Song filed a 3rd-party contribution claim against Harper for her intentional acts of stealing the records and posting them on Facebook. Harper failed to appear in the case and was defaulted prior to trial. Following the trial, Judge Powell conducted an ex-parte default prove-up against Harper and determined she was 90% at fault. (This would have no bearing on deft’s liability for the full judgement, but enables him to seek recovery from Harper for 90% of the amount he pays to pltf.)

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