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Positive Living settles class action lawsuit for $1.2M, after outing nearly 800 people with HIV

Last Updated Sep 19, 2020 at 12:01 am PDT

B.C. Judge (Courtesy: Cliff MacArthur/provincialcourt.bc.ca)
Summary

A class-action lawsuit launched in connection with a breach of privacy involving people with HIV has been settled

The payout to affected individuals adds up to more than $1 million

Individuals will receive about $1,000 each

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A Vancouver-based class-action lawsuit involving a breach of privacy for people with HIV has been settled for more than $1 million.

The lawsuit was launched on behalf of 796 members of the Positive Living Society, an agency that offered support to people living with HIV/AIDs.

In September, 2016, a mass email was directed to members asking them if they’d like to take part in UBC research. That mass email failed to ‘blind copy’ other recipients’ email addresses, thus revealing the identity of other members, and in essence, their HIV status.

The settlement sees $1.2 million paid out by the Positive Living Society, as well as UBC — which was undertaking a study when the email was released — and the Providence Health Care Society.

Plaintiffs will receive about $1,000 each.

Positive Living delivered a letter of apology to those involved in the lawsuit in the spring.

The Positive Living Society closed its doors permanently in March, saying revenue for the society had been declining for the last couple of years.