In re: Valley Anesthesiology Consultants, Inc. Data Breach Litigation, Case No. CV2016-013446
The lawsuit claims that VAPC was responsible for the potential exposure of personal information arising from the Security Incident that occurred when hackers illegally accessed its computer systems because VAPC did not take appropriate care to protect those systems from hacking. The lawsuit seeks compensation for those individuals who were or may have been adversely affected by the Security Incident.
VAPC denies all of Plaintiffs’ claims and further claims it did not fail to meet any obligations to Class members. VAPC maintains that it is the innocent victim of a crime.
You can read the Settlement Agreement and other important case documents here.Back To Top
In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of all people who have similar claims. All of these people together are the “Class” or “Class Members.” In this case, the Class Representatives are Cade Becher, Melanie R. Chaignot, Janice E. Manz, and Megan F. Thomas. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.Back To Top
By agreeing to settle, both sides avoid the cost and risk of a trial, and the people affected will get a chance to receive benefits from the Settlement. The Class Representatives and their attorneys think the Settlement is best for all Class members. The Settlement does not necessarily mean that VAPC did anything wrong.Back To Top
The Settlement is made up of two classes: the large, all-encompassing Injunctive Relief Class and the narrower Monitoring Subclass. The Classes are defined as follows:
The Injunctive Relief Class consists of all persons whose personally identifiable information, health information, bank account information, financial information, or health provider information was stored on VAPC’s electronic data systems before August 12, 2016. Injunctive Relief class members will receive the benefit of VAPC’s enhanced data security protocols. There are approximately 882,590 Injunctive Relief Class members; all Class Members are Injunctive Relief Class members.
The “Monitoring Subclass" is a subclass, which consists of all Injunctive Relief Class members whose social security, Medicare, or Medicaid number was potentially exposed during the Security Incident at VAPC. The Monitoring Subclass includes everyone who was previously offered identity or theft protection services by VAPC due to the Security Incident. These class members will receive the benefit of an additional two (2) years of credit monitoring and identity theft protection, including dark web monitoring. There are approximately 209,000 Monitoring Subclass members.
For the Injunctive Relief Class, the Settlement includes injunctive relief in the form of enhanced data security protocols at VAPC. In this case, “injunctive relief” means the court ordered requirement that VAPC agrees to implement enhanced data security measures. As part of this Settlement, VAPC has also agreed to provide assurances regarding improvements to its information security enterprise since the Security Incident. In particular, independent experts have evaluated and verified substantial improvements to VAPC’s security practices since the Security Incident. Additionally, Class Counsel (defined in FAQ 12) will have the ability to monitor VAPC’s information security protocol for one (1) year following this Settlement. You will receive these benefits regardless of what you do, and you will not forfeit any claims against VAPC by receiving these benefits.
For the Monitoring Subclass the Settlement provides two (2) years of credit monitoring and identity theft protection, including dark web searching, for individuals whose Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid number was potentially exposed during the Security Incident. The credit monitoring and identity theft protection will be provided, free of charge, by Experian.Back To Top
To get your free credit monitoring services, simply follow the instructions that will be mailed to you after final approval of this Settlement. In order to determine when or if the Settlement will be finally approved, please visit this website, where these important dates will be updated as they are set by this Court.
You will receive the benefits of the injunctive relief even if you do nothing, and even if you opt out of the Settlement.Back To Top
You do not have to do anything to remain in the Settlement, but if you want to receive the credit monitoring services, you will need to follow the instructions in the letter that will be mailed to you that includes your free credit monitoring code after final approval of the Settlement. You will have three months to activate these services before the code will expire.
You do not have to do anything to receive the benefits of injunctive relief.Back To Top
Injunctive Relief: You do not give up any rights by enjoying the benefits of injunctive relief. The substantial improvements to VAPC’s data security and Class Counsel’s ability to verify those improvements do not require you to give up any rights.
Monitoring Subclass members: If the Settlement becomes final and you did not exclude yourself by the Opt-Out deadline of January 28th, 2019, Monitoring Subclass members will give up their right to sue VAPC for the claims being resolved by this Settlement. The specific claims Monitoring Subclass members are giving up against VAPC are described in Section III.18. of the Settlement Agreement. Monitoring Subclass members will be “releasing” VAPC and all related people as described in Section V.24-26 of the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is available here.
The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so read it carefully. If you have any questions, you can talk to the law firms listed in FAQ 12 or you can, of course, talk to your personal lawyer at your own expense if you have questions about what this means.Back To Top
No. You will not receive the credit monitoring benefits if you have excluded yourself from this Settlement.Back To Top
No. Unless you excluded yourself by the Opt-Out Deadline of January 28th, 2019, you give up any right you might have to sue VAPC for legal claims that the Settlement resolves. You must have excluded yourself from the Settlement Class in order to try to maintain your own lawsuit. If you start your own lawsuit, you will have to hire your own lawyer, and you will have to prove your claims.Back To Top
In order to exclude yourself, or “Opt out”, from the settlement, you must have submitted a valid exclusion request by the Opt-Out Deadline of January 28th, 2019. We are no longer accepting exclusion requests.Back To Top
Yes. The Court appointed the following as “Class Counsel”:
Leonard W. Aragon
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, LLP
11 West Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Elaine A. Ryan, Bonnett, Fairbourn
Friedman & Balint, P.C.
2325 E. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016
You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.Back To Top
Class Counsel will ask the Court for attorneys’ fees not to exceed $800,000, inclusive of reasonable costs and expenses. Any amount that the Court awards for attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses will be paid separately from the benefits available to the Class and will not reduce the amount of benefits available to the Class. Class Counsel will also ask for a payment not to exceed $2,500 for each of the Class Representatives, who helped the lawyers on behalf of the whole Class. These amounts will also be separate from any benefits available to the Class.Back To Top
In order to object to the settlement, you must have submitted a valid objection by the Deadline of January 28th, 2019. We are no longer accepting objections for this settlement.Back To Top
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you do not exclude yourself from the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.Back To Top
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 9:00 a.m. on February 15, 2019, at the Maricopa County Superior Court for the State of Arizona, 101 West Jefferson, Phoenix, Arizona, 85003. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website or call 1-844-327-2352 to confirm.
At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them and will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court may also decide how much to pay Class Counsel. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the Settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.Back To Top
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions that the Court may have regarding the terms of the Settlement. But, you or your own lawyer are welcome to attend at your expense. If you sent in an objection, you do not have to come to the Court to talk about it. As long as you filed your written objection by the objection deadline of January 28th, 2019, the Court will consider it. You may also have your own lawyer attend, but it is not necessary.Back To Top
The due date to send in a “Notice of Intention to Appear” has already passed.Back To Top
If you do nothing, you’ll get no credit monitoring benefits from this Settlement. As a member of the Class, you must follow the instructions that will be mailed to you following final approval of this Settlement to receive your free credit monitoring.
If you do nothing, you will still receive the benefit of injunctive relief as part of VAPC’s enhanced data security protocols. But, unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against VAPC about the legal issues in this case, ever again.Back To Top
This website and the Notice summarizes the proposed Settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement here. You may also write with questions to Valley Anesthesiology Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 2838, Portland, OR 97208-2838, or call with questions by calling the toll-free number, 1-844-327-2352.
Please do not contact the Court or Valley Anesthesiology with questions about this Settlement.Back To Top