Wagners Files Proposed Class Action Over Privacy Breach at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital

A proposed class proceeding has been filed in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court arising from a privacy breach at Nova Scotia Health affecting 2,690 patients at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

On April 19, 2024, Nova Scotia Health announced that a clerical employee at the hospital had breached and improperly accessed the personal health information of 2,690 patients between May and September 2023.

In September 2023, Nova Scotia Health was alerted to suspicions that an employee was improperly accessing health records at the hospital. An audit was then performed of the employee’s activity in the electronic information system, revealing thousands of privacy breaches. In some cases, patients’ records relating to several years of visits were inappropriately accessed.

The employee was terminated for these serial privacy breaches in November 2023.

Letters advising patients about the privacy breach have been sent out over the past couple of weeks.

The proposed class proceeding, filed on May 7 by lawyers Maddy Carter and Kate Boyle, names Nova Scotia Health as the defendant to the litigation. The Statement of Claim, which outlines the basis for the proposed class proceeding, alleges that Nova Scotia Health was negligent in protecting patients’ health information, and is also vicariously liable for the intentional conduct of the former employee.

“For me, it’s the trust issue. When you go to the hospital or to see any physician, the information you provide is between you and them, and you never expect it to go anywhere else. It is a big breach, and a major trust issue. You should never have to worry about that. Many people are feeling very violated about the whole thing,” says Sharlene Peters, the proposed Representative Plaintiff in the action.

The first step in the proposed class proceeding will be the hearing of a certification motion to determine whether the litigation should be certified, and thus may proceed as a class proceeding. Once certified, the case will proceed to a trial to determine the merits of the allegations in the Statement of Claim.

As of the time of this release, 159 affected patients have contacted Wagners expressing interest in litigation.

Further information, including a copy of the Statement of Claim, can be found on Wagners’ website at https://wagners.co/practice-areas/class-actions/st-marthas-regional-hospital-privacy-breach/

If you have personally been contacted about and/or impacted by this privacy breach and would like to speak with us, please contact the class action team at Wagners via email at [email protected] or by phoning 902-425-7330.

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