Tabata v. Charleston Area Medical Center, Inc., No. 13-0766, --- S.E.2d ----, 2014 WL 2439961 (W. Va. May 28,, 2014).
In February 2011, two medical providers notified 3,655 patients that their names, contact details, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and basic health information had accidentally been posted to the internet. Several of these patients sued in a putative class action, asserting claims for breach of the duty of confidentiality, invasion of privacy – “intrusion upon the seclusion of the petitioners,” invasion of privacy – “unreasonable publicity into the petitioners’ private lives,” and negligence. Both the trial and circuit courts found that the plaintiffs lacked standing because they did not allege that any personal information had actually been misused. In an opinion issued in May 2014, West Virginia’s highest court disagreed, explaining that damage to the legal interests of privacy and medical confidentiality are sufficient injuries to confer standing. The court also reversed the circuit court’s denial of certification and found that the plaintiffs did meet the commonality, typicality, and predominance requirement.