Number of Class Action Lawsuits Against AMCA, Others, Reaches 19

The AMCA data breach story is going nuclear at this point. The number of class action lawsuits that ensued has now reached 19.

The ever expanding story surrounding AMCA just keeps getting bigger. We first heard about the story when Quest Diagnostics had 12 million patients compromised. From there, LabCorp admitted 7.7 million patients were compromised.

The source of all these compromised patients were traced to debt collecting company AMCA. The breach itself, originally touted as a small 200,000 patient compromise ballooned to 20 million patients – 100 times the original estimate. Shortly after, a class action lawsuit was filed against both AMCA and Quest Diagnostics.

In response to the story seemingly getting out of hand, AMCA declared chapter 11 bankruptcy. While that saga sounds like it might take place over the course of a couple years, this story only started on the 7th – barely two weeks ago.

Now, today, there is even more dramatic fallout from this story. It seems that while we’ve been reporting on other major developments on the story, lawyers have been busy. According to reports the number of class action lawsuits against both AMCA and the various medical labs involved have ballooned to an eye-popping 19:

Appropriately, the lawsuit came into the direction of AMCA, Quest, and LabCorp regarding the incident. More than 11 class-suite actions have been filed against the three companies for their inability to protect consumer data. The 11 lawsuits were recorded at The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on June 3. Since then, eight more lawsuits were filed against the companies in federal courts from New Jersey, New York, and California.

According to litigation experts, “If many cases are filed in federal court, any of the lawyers on any of those cases can file a motion with the JPML [..] to centralize the various federal cases that have been filed by sending all of them to a single judge for coordinated pre-trial proceedings.”

“Healthcare companies are especially susceptible to data breaches not only because they aggregate a tremendous amount of important and sensitive data, but also because they tend to be less focused on cybersecurity protection than other industries,” said John Yanchunis of Morgan and Morgan, one of the firms who filed lawsuits against Quest Diagnostics.

“These companies, like Quest Diagnostics, know they are at an increased risk and yet have not taken the proper steps to protect their patients’ data. We will fight for justice on behalf of those impacted by this breach,” added Yanchunis.

As we suggested earlier, lawmakers are also getting involved. Here’s another excerpt from that report:

The U.S. government, led by attorneys general from Connecticut and Illinois has also opened an investigation on the matter. Furthermore, lawmakers and other politicians have sent letters to the responding companies to ask for an explanation of why an eight-month data breach remained undetected and to demand accountability from them.

In Washington, US Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) also sent a letter to Quest Laboratories demanding the company explain its vetting process for selecting AMCA as a billing vendor, and what requirements a third-party vendor has to pass. Democratic New Jersey Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez also sent letters to AMCA, Quest, and LabCorp, seeking official answers on how a breach of this severity went undetected for eight months.

“The months-long leak leaves sensitive personal and financial information vulnerable in the hands of criminal enterprises. Moreover, such breaches force victims to contend with identity theft that may lead to irreparable harm to their credit reports and financial future,” said the letter sent by the NJ senators.

While we’ve seen no shortage of data breaches in the past, few cases ever get taken this far. How many breaches have you seen this year involve at least 20 million victims, have the company involve declare bankruptcy, have 19 class action lawsuits launched, multiple government investigations being opened up, the Aristocrats? The amount of drama involved here is highly unusual, that’s for sure.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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