Case Number: No. 3:20-cv-03473

Practice Area: Technology, Privacy & Data Breach

Case Status: Pending

Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Berger Montague served as Co-Lead Counsel and obtained a $4 million settlement in this privacy breach lawsuit alleging that Gilead Sciences, Inc. violated the privacy rights of customers by exposing their highly private and confidential information regarding prescriptions for HIV medication.

On September 1, 2020, the plaintiffs Alabama Doe 1, Indiana Doe, and Missouri Doe filed a Class Action Complaint captioned Alabama Doe, et al. v. Gilead Sciences, Inc., No. 20-CIV-03699, in the Superior Court of the State of California, for the County of San Mateo (the “Litigation”). The lawsuit, led by Shanon J. Carson, John Albanese, and Sophia Rios of Berger Montague, alleged that confidential medical information belonging to Plaintiffs and the Settlement Class Members was disclosed by Gilead to third parties through a mailing of an envelope with the words “HIV Prevention Team” on the face of the envelope in the return address (the “Mailer”). The Class Action Complaint further alleged that Gilead was responsible for all harm caused by the Mailer under various theories of liability.

Gilead is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Foster City, CA that develops and sells prescription drugs, including for the treatment and prevention of HIV. They include Truvada and Descovy, the only drugs available for the prescribed medication regimen known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (“PrEP”) for people who want to avoid contracting HIV. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit were participants in Gilead’s Advancing Access Program, a patient-assistance program offering discounts on expensive PrEP drugs.

In signing up for the Advancing Access Program, Gilead customers were promised confidentiality and did not expect or agree to receive mail from Gilead that would link them to HIV. The stigma surrounding HIV can lead to discrimination in employment, housing, education, health care, and even violence. Fear of that stigma is widely recognized as contributing to the AIDS epidemic by discouraging people from getting tested. To ensure that people feel safe to come forward to be tested and treated for HIV, many states have adopted laws that protect the confidentiality of HIV-related information and provide for statutory damages. The lawsuit demanded that Gilead reform its mailing procedures and pay monetary damages to the plaintiffs and class members.

If you have been harmed by a privacy breach or a data breach, please contact Berger Montague.

About Berger Montague

Berger Montague is a national law firm focusing on complex civil litigation in federal and state courts throughout the United States. For over half a century, Berger Montague has played lead roles in consequential, precedent-setting cases and has recovered over $50 billion for its clients and the classes they have represented. Berger Montague is headquartered in Philadelphia and has offices in Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.

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