COLUMBIA — The Mike Kelly Law Group, with an office in Winnsboro, recently joined with Columbia attorney Doug Rosinski in filing a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of two veterans whose personal information was compromised along with that of some 7,500 other veterans when an unsecured laptop was stolen from the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center on February 11, 2013. The two veterans in the lawsuit thus far are from Richland County but Kelly realizes that since Fairfield County veterans are referred to the Dorn VA that there is a good likelihood some of their information was on the missing laptop.
“We will not find out the extent of this for some time,” he said. “Right now we are in the initial stages of the lawsuit, taking depositions and interviewing witnesses.”
He said people have been contacting his firm since the news broke and that he keeps a database of the callers. If the suit succeeds, then those veterans who are part of the class action lawsuit should receive compensation, according to Kelly.
“This is not as large as the Department of Revenue data breach, but it is potentially more serious because the health information is compromised,” Kelly said. Such information could be used by unscrupulous individuals in a defaming, embarrassing, humiliating, and/or derogatory way, according to Kelly.
For its part, the Dorn VA center issued an April press release notifying the veterans of the missing laptop. As a precaution, the facility is offering one year of free credit monitoring to those affected Veterans.
“Any time a Veteran’s personal information may be compromised, we take the matter very seriously,” said Rebecca Wiley, the Medical Center Director. “We are reaching out to each Veteran who may have been impacted.”
The Dorn VA Medical Center Police and Office of Inspector General are treating the event as a criminal investigation which is on-going. According to the VA’s April 12 press release, there is no indication the information has been misused and the laptop has not yet been recovered.
For more information on this developing story, see the Friday edition of the Herald Independent.