On Tuesday, Angela Cole and Beatrice Roche filed a complaint in the Eastern District of California against Quest Diagnostics, Inc. for allegedly “eavesdropping” on communications sent by customers and sending personal information to Facebook.
At issue are Facebook’s Business Tools, “bits of code that advertisers can integrate into their website, mobile applications, and servers, thereby enabling Facebook to intercept and collect user activity on those platforms.” The Facebook Tracking Pixel is one of these tools that automatically runs on partnered websites that sends website data directly to Facebook, the complaint explains.
Since Quest Diagnostics uses the Tracking Pixel, the complaint says, all data and secure medical communications on the website are sent to Facebook for advertising purposes including “test results, schedule[d] appointments, or bills.” This is in contrast to Quest’s alleged promise that it will “never conspire with a third-party to intercept usage data paired with personally identifiable information.” Since Facebook accounts are tied to users’ verified real name and birthday, this data constitutes “individually identifiable information regarding a patient’s medical history, mental or physical condition, or treatment.”
The plaintiffs believe that there are more than one million potential members of the putative class since Quest Diagnostics serves millions of people throughout the United States. Cole and Roche alleged that Quest Diagnostics “conspired” with Facebook to track customers’ internet communications “without authorization” from those same customers which was an invasion of privacy and contributed to a loss of value in their personally-identifiable information. As a result, the plaintiffs are suing on the counts of a violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act and Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.
The plaintiffs are seeking class certification, compensatory damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, disgorgement, injunctive relief, prejudgment interest, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.
The plaintiffs are represented by Bursor & Fisher, P.A.