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David Cates, Esq. Challenges Federal Jurisdiction of Health Care Provider

Published: Sep 25, 2023 in Firm News, Legal Blog
Monroe County Personal Injury Lawyers Monroe County Personal Injury Lawyers

Founding Principal David Cates, Esq. is challenging a federal jurisdiction claim by a local health care provider for a case to be heard in U.S. District Court. Mr. Cates and seven class action colleagues allege that Southern Illinois Health Care (SIHC) violated privacy laws through targeted Facebook advertising.

Mr. Cates brought the lawsuit against SIHC earlier this year, alleging the health care provider violated his clients’ privacy rights by selling their information to third parties for marketing purposes. He states that SIHC encourages patients to use their website when searching for physicians, facilities, and medical information and that patients believed they were communicating exclusively and privately with the health care provider when doing so. SIHC operates facilities in Memorial Hospital in Carbondale, three smaller hospitals, and other medical practices.

“When plaintiff and class members used defendant’s website and online platforms, they thought they were communicating exclusively with their trusted health care provider.” Mr. Cates wrote.

He further alleges that SIHC used Meta Pixel and other tracking technology to market their services and increase profits. He claims the provider received compensation for enhanced advertising services and cost-efficient marketing on Facebook’s platform.

A plaintiff’s co-counsel, Lynn Toops, requested the complaint be heard in Williamson County Circuit Court, where Mr. Cates filed the suit, contending that SIHC failed to prove that it acted under government direction. She further noted that the federal government does not require transmitting patient personal data to advertising companies without consent and that a program for maintaining electronic health records has nothing to do with installing a tracking tool.

The defendant’s counsel, Erin Hines, filed to remove the complaint to the U.S. District Court, arguing that the health care provider, as a federal officer providing online access for Medicare and Medicaid patients, meets federal jurisdiction requirements. She further asserts that, as a federal provider, SIHC adheres to the national standards regarding protecting records and patient privacy.

The jurisdiction dispute awaits a final ruling by Magistrate Judge Gilbert Sison of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

Mr. Cates requests certification of a class action lawsuit, an injunction against wrongful conduct, and disgorgement of wrongfully retained revenues. He also asks that clients be awarded no less than three years of free credit monitoring services, actual, compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages, and statutory penalties.

Are you seeking legal counsel? Schedule a free consultation with The Cates Law Firm today by calling 618-277-3644 or contacting us online. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients in St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout Southern Illinois.