IRS sued for seizing 60 million medical records
Friday, May 17, 2013
A healthcare provider has sued the Internal Revenue Service and 15 of its agents, charging they wrongfully seized 60 million medical records from 10 million Americans.
The name of the provider is not yet known, United Press International said. But Courthouse News Service said the suit claims the agency violated the Fourth Amendment in 2011, when agents executed a search warrant for financial data on one employee – and that led to the seizure of information on 10 million, including state judges.
The search warrant did not specify that the IRS could take medical information, UPI said. And information technology officials warned the IRS about the potential to violate medical privacy laws before agents executed the warrant, the complaint said, as reported by UPI.
“Despite knowing that these medical records were not within the scope of the warrant, defendants threatened to ‘rip’ the servers containing the medical data out of the building if IT personnel would not voluntarily hand them over,” the complaint states, UPI reported.
The suit also says IRS agents seized workers’ phones and telephone data – more violations of the warrant, UPI reported.
The complaint alleges the IRS was “invasive and unlawful” and stole access to intimate medical records that included patients’ treatment plans and therapies, UPI said.
The suit seeks $25,000 in compensatory damages, per violation. The records’ seizure could impact up to one in 25 Americans, UPI said.