United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
ROBERT COX, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
VALLEY HOPE ASSOCIATION, Defendant.
NANETTE K. LAUGHREY United States District Judge
the Court is Defendant Valley Hope Association's Motion
to Dismiss [Doc. 14]. For the following reasons, the motion
Valley Hope Association is a healthcare corporation that
offers drug, alcohol, and addiction treatment services. In
its capacity as a healthcare provider, Valley Hope maintains
patient medical information, including sensitive information
regarding a patient's treatment and identification.
Valley Hope posts the following “Privacy and
Confidentiality” notice on its website:
As a drug and alcohol treatment provider we are covered by
two distinct federal laws that protect the privacy and
confidentiality of information about your health, health
care, and payment for services related to your health.
1. Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient
Information (42 C.F.R. Part 2):
42 C.F.R. Part 2 protects health information that identifies
you as being a patient in a drug or alcohol program, or as
having a drug or alcohol problem. This includes persons who
have applied for, participated in, or received an interview,
counseling, or any other service from a federally assisted
alcohol or drug abuse program. This means that we may not
acknowledge to a person outside of the program whether you
are a current or former patient, nor can we disclose any
information identifying you as an alcohol or drug abuser
(except under certain conditions which are outlined in this
2. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA) Privacy Regulations (45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164):
HIPAA protects all health information which identifies an
individual, not just drug and alcohol information.
[Doc. 1-2, pp. 3-4, ¶ 10].
December 30, 2015, a laptop computer owned by Valley Hope was
stolen from an employee's vehicle. The laptop contained
private treatment and identification information for about
52, 076 patients. While the laptop was secured with a
password, the information stored on the device was not
months afterwards, in February 2016, Valley Hope sent a
letter to patients- including Plaintiff Robert Cox-informing
them of the theft. Cox then filed suit in Missouri state
court on March 17, 2016 on behalf of a putative class of
similarly-situated individuals. His complaint asserts the
I. Violation of Missouri's Merchandising Practices Act
II. Breach of Fiduciary Duty
III. Breach of Contract
IV. Negligent Training, Hiring, and ...