Second claim seeking class-action lawsuit suggests patients want real consequences for LifeLabs data breach

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      People were justifiably outraged when news broke two weeks ago that LifeLabs was the victim of a cyberattack that put millions of people’s confidential information at risk of public release.

      The health-diagnostics company is the largest like it in Canada and responsible for pregnancy tests and other reproductive diagnoses, illegal-drug and alcohol screenings, as well as most genetic testing. It's also trusted with checking British Columbians for sexually transmitted diseases.

      With the results of those kinds of tests plus many others possibly now available on the dark web—alongside their corresponding patient names and other personal information—many are calling for serious consequences for LifeLabs for failing to adequately protect their privacy.

      On December 18, a B.C. resident named Kennet Morrison filed the first lawsuit in relation to the incident.

      Now a pair of LifeLabs patients on the other side of the country have filed a similar statement of claim that alleges LifeLab’s conduct justifies the creation of a class-action lawsuit.

      The suit, filed by Ontario residents and LifeLabs patients Peter Waldmann and Andrew Stein, alleges that LifeLabs’s failure to prevent the data breach amounts to negligence, breach of contract, and a violation of privacy laws.

      The class-action lawsuit has yet to be certified and none of its claims have been proven in court. But given that it was LifeLabs itself who revealed the existence of the data breach and that with that disclosure, Lifelabs acknowledged that millions of patients’ information was at risk, it’s like to receive serious consideration.

      The Ontario suit asks for $1.13 billion in compensation.

      On December 17, B.C.’s information and privacy commissioner, Michael McEvoy, said in a media release that the hack could have severe consequences for those whose privacy is at risk.

      “The breach of sensitive personal health information can be devastating to those who are affected,” McEvoy emphasized. “Our independent offices are committed to thoroughly investigating this breach. We will publicly report our findings and recommendations once our work is complete."