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Walgreens Held Liable in Privacy Suit

— November 27, 2014

Health care privacy law, as we’ve noted here, is an area of law that continues to grow at a precipitous rate.  HIPAA and health care privacy protections may  intersect with employment law issues, underscoring the weight of responsibility for all keepers and handlers of private medical information — and the people and companies that may be responsible for them.

An Indiana appellate court recently upheld  a finding of liability under respondeat superior against Walgreen Co., for HIPAA violation by an employee (Walgreen Co. v. Hinchy)  The employee, a pharmacist, had accessed a customer’s prescription record for personal reasons.  The employee acted at the behest of her boyfriend (and later, husband).  A jury award of $1.8 million was upheld by the appellate court, $1.4 million of which Walgreen Co. was held responsible for.

The verdict was upheld even though the employee had violated Walgreen Co.’s policies.

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