Telemedicine

Plaintiff voluntarily dismisses patient privacy suit against MDLive (updated)

In April, telehealth company MDLive was hit with a class-action lawsuit over patient privacy issues. But now plaintiff Joan Richards has voluntarily dismissed the suit.

technology, EHR, EMR, doctor, physician, tablet

This post has been updated from an earlier version.

Remember the class-action lawsuit against MDLive? Apparently it’s over.

Sunrise, Florida-based MDLive unveiled yesterday that plaintiff Joan Richards voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit on June 2. The telehealth company said it did not pay a settlement.

In a statement, MDLive CEO Scott Decker commented on the dismissal:

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. 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.

Richards, who originally claimed to be seeking $5 million in damages, was represented by Edelson PC’s Dillon Brozyna. MedCity was told that Edelson has no comment on the suit at this time.

Initially, Richards said she dismissed the claims in the lawsuit without prejudice. But on June 5, a judge dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning Richards is not allowed to file another suit on the same grounds.

The lawsuit saga began in mid-April when Richards filed a complaint in Florida federal court. The suit alleged MDLive takes screenshots during the first 15 minutes patients use its app, during which they are prompted to enter their health information. It also claimed MDLive takes an average of 60 screenshots during that time period.

MDLive then allegedly sends these screenshots to a third party tech company, Tel Aviv, Israel-based TestFairy, without notifying patients. TestFairy tracks users’ experience and finds potential bugs within the MDLive app.

“Consumers need to be wary and concerned and companies need to be much more proactive in protecting information and informing consumers about what’s happening with that information,” Christopher Dore, a partner at Edelson PC, told MedCity in April.

Suffice it to say that MDLive was not too thrilled with the allegations.

In early May, the company sought dismissal of the class-action lawsuit, citing Richards’ claims as “baseless.” Richards, the company said, did not rely on the Terms of Use contract, which “allows MDLIVE to share the limited information Richards allegedly provided with third-party contractors — who are under confidentiality obligations with MDLIVE — to assist MDLIVE in developing and improving its app.”

Additionally, the company said the suit accuses it of breaching patient privacy “when, in fact, (even based on the allegations) no data breach — large or small — happened.”

What happened next, according to Law 360, is that Richards told the Southern District of Florida that she would file an amended complaint in response to MDLive’s motion to dismiss the suit. She received an extension until June 2, but chose instead to file a notice of voluntary dismissal.

Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill, Getty Images