Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Medical Company - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/10/08

Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Medical Company

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The Texas Attorney General is urging folks on the South Plains to check their banking information, after police found thousands of personal records left out in the open behind Health South in Levelland.

Thursday, Attorney General Greg Abbott filed suit against Pennsylvania based Select Medical Corporation who ran a rehabilitation program at Health South.

Police found thousand of records with patient's social security numbers, medical history, and banking information in and around a dumpster back in October.  Now, Select Medical faces millions of dollars in fines.

"They shirked their duties," Marquita Darland said. 

Police alerted Darland that her records were left out for anyone to find.

"I instantly panicked, I guess, and she said that everything was okay, that they would be in their safe keeping," Darland said. 

Levelland Police shared video recorded when they discovered the documents back in October.  It shows stacks of papers, folders, and other office supplies stuffed into a dumpster and piled outside of the dumpster.

"There are many people in this area who are potentially exposed to identity theft because of this negligent action by Select Medical," Abbott said. 

Thursday afternoon, Abbott announced a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the company.

"We are seeking an injunction against Select Medical to prevent them from ever disclosing personal information like this again, as well as seeking penalties of up to $50,000 per violation," Abbott said. 

The company is accused of violating the Texas Identity Theft Protection Act passed in 2005. The Attorney General is also seeking up to $500 for each record with personal information.

"Exactly the kind of things that identity thieves look for," Abbott said. 

Darland says she's checking her accounts every day, and while her records have been collected and secured, she still doesn't feel safe.

"I still don't feel secure, and I don't think I ever will; I guess I was one of the folks that sat back and said, this is never going to happen to me," Darland said. 

Investigators have not determined if any of the information has been used illegally, but they urge everyone, especially former patient's of Health South, to check their accounts for any unusual activity.

NewsChannel 11 tried to contact Select Medical Corporation Thursday.  They did not return our call, but a spokeswoman released a statement saying they closed their Levelland facility in September. She says the company is cooperating with the Texas Attorney General's investigation.

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