MDLive data privacy lawsuit curiously dropped without settlement
The class action lawsuit against MDLive is over, almost before it began. Just one month after the law firm Edelson PC sued the telemedicine company for privacy violations, the plaintiff, Joan Richards, has voluntarily dismissed the suit. The abrupt end of the suit, without any monetary settlement by MDLive, is a little baffling. We've reached out to a number of personnel from Edelson PC for comment and will update if we hear more.
“Privacy and patient confidentiality are at the heart of everything we do, and MDLive will continue to rigorously review and evolve our technology and processes to safeguard member information and build trust in the telehealth industry,” MDLive CEO Scott Decker said in a statement. “We are thrilled this lawsuit was appropriately dismissed as we continue pursuing MDLive's goal of enabling 24/7/365 access to affordable virtual healthcare for consumers, employers, health plans and health systems across the US.”
Back in April, Edelson PC filed the suit alleging that MDLive takes screenshots of sensitive patient health information and sends them to TestFairy, an Israeli company that does quality control on apps, and that this is a violation of patient privacy. MDLive responded with a fact sheet detailing the relationship between MDLive and TestFairy and asserting that there had been no HIPAA breach and nothing was improper about the relationship.
As we noted in April, Edelson PC is a lawfirm that's somewhat notorious in Silicon Valley for filing lawsuits related to privacy and security. In the past, it's taken on Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Netflix as well as many smaller companies. According to a feature on the firm the New York Times ran in 2015, Edelson sees itself as a sort of private AG, suing companies to defend consumers and promote better behavior from the tech sector. Their detractors in the valley, on the other hand, consider them to be out for self-enrichment at the expense of well-to-do tech companies.