Class action settlement: Health information sale to law firm

In mid December 2019, Australian Lawyer reported:

The Supreme Court of New South Wales on Monday accepted the settlement of a pioneering class action in Australia.

Justice Julie Ward accepted the $275,000 settlement in the class action led by Tracy Evans against the NSW Ambulance Service over a major data breach. The lawsuit is the first privacy class action and the first to go to court, according to George Newhouse of Centennial Lawyers, solicitor for the lead plaintiff.

Centennial Lawyers filed the class action in 2017. Evans, a former paramedic, alleged that Waqar Malik, who was a contractor of NSW Ambulance Service, was given access to personal workers’ compensation information of around 130 employees of the service. Details gleaned from the records were then sold by Malik to at least one law firm in Sydney.

Malik was convicted in 2016 of unlawfully disclosing personal information for selling the compensation information, some of which contained sensitive medical and mental-health records.

The approval judgment is now available online: Evans v Health Administration Corporation [2019] NSWSC 1781. The overview of the confidential opinion of counsel at [23] – [40] is particularly useful.