GoodRx, the prescription drug discount service, has faced several challenges relating to the possible improper use of customers' private health information. And then, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) came calling and began an investigation. Using its Health Breach Notification Rule for the first time, the FTC charged that GoodRx had failed to notify customers and others of its unauthorized disclosure of consumers' personal health information (PHI) to Facebook, Google, and others.
Read below for more info on how to get your money back.
GoodRx Class Action Lawsuit Consequences
GoodRx will be prohibited from sharing PHI with certain third parties for advertising purposes and has agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine for violating the rule. The Court approved the Stipulated Order for Permanent Injunctions, Civil Penalty Judgment, and Other Relief on February 17, 2023. Despite claiming it had proactively corrected the disclosure violations several years earlier, GoodRx accepted the settlement to avoid litigation costs and admitted no wrongdoing.
Generally, cases for damages where there has been an enforcement action settle for higher amounts than cases without such actions. Thus, the settlement above could have led and did lead to suits against GoodRx making the same allegations as those of the FTC.
In the FTC's Order, GoodRx admits only enough facts to establish the court's jurisdiction over the case. It neither admits nor denies "any of the allegations" in the case except as specifically stated in the order. Thus, civil plaintiffs seeking through a class action or individually to sue GoodRx and relying on the order will not gain much in terms of proven evidence. Courts have consistently held that administrative findings in orders like this (usually in Securities and Exchange Commission cases) do not constitute evidence of liability. Nonetheless, plaintiffs often use the orders early in the case to support the facts they are alleging. In at least one case, a court, which had previously dismissed two cases against the defendant, concluded that the "findings" in an SEC order provided enough support to prevent another dismissal.
The day after the FTC order in this case was entered, GoodRX and Meta, Google, and advertising company Criteo were sued in a proposed class action lawsuit alleging improper health data disclosure.
What Does the Classaction Allege
Class action lawsuits are generally favored where there are large numbers of plaintiffs with substantially identical complaints whose individual damages are small but whose numbers make the case large. Before a case proceeds as a class action, the court will determine whether the allegations in the complaint support this understanding.
The lawsuit alleges that, although the company says it did not violate the rules, it "knowingly and intentionally" shared prescribing information with third parties for targeted advertising purposes. The proposed class action seeks to join all US persons who used GoodRx and whose data was shared. Given the 20 million users of the GoodRx app a month, this could be a bonanza for the law firm handling the suit.
Class action lawyers generally contact a list of potential plaintiffs, as in this case, all the persons who used GoodRx, offering them the opportunity to join the case at some point after certification of the class by the court. Even if you aren't directly contacted, you will usually read about how to join a large case as it nears settlement. If you receive a class action notice, make sure to read it carefully to understand what your options are and what rights you may have.
One of your rights is to sue individually and not join the class action. In that case, you would file your case in court (either civil court or small claims court depending on the damages sought). This would require that you retain counsel, only possibly on a contingency fee basis. Filing a suit on your own is expensive, timing consuming, and if your damages are small, probably not worth it.
In other words, you can join the class action, with no cost to you and a small potential award, or file individually or join the class action. In either case, the allegations and damages must be proven.
With Dispute's software, you can start your small claims case by generating, signing, and mailing a demand letter and small claims filing in minutes from your phone or computer. Keep reading below for more info on how to move forward.
Write a Demand Letter
A demand letter is a formal letter asking for payment. Strongly worded demand letters on professional letterhead have a better chance of reaching a settlement out of court than regular letters. At Dispute, you can generate a demand letter in minutes.
- On the top, in the address block, put in the company name and address. You can find the registered agent at the bottom of this page.
- Next, put the subject line as 'Re: Demand for Payment'
- In one sentence, tell them how much the other party owes you which you will claim in your small claims lawsuit.
- Then, in two to three sentences describe your issue.
- Finally, state in plain language that you will go to small claims court if necessary. Don't say that you will do anything else, such as speaking poorly about them.
- On the bottom, include your name and address
How to Send a Demand Letter
After you write the demand letter, you’ll want to send it to their registered agent so that it’s guaranteed to go to the legal department. Make sure that you get a tracking number for the mail you send them. It can become important evidence in your case.
Demand letters are often mailed. But if you don’t have time to find a printer, buy an envelope, and visit a post office, we can mail it for you. Send your demand letter with just a click from the comfort of your home with Dispute.
Start your Small Claims Forms
If the dealership does not pay you after receiving the demand letter, you can file a small claim to win your money back. Although this may sound complicated, small claims is actually less complicated than regular court. There are some county guidelines you’ll have to follow, but filing with Dispute can make it easier on you.
You’ll need to find and prepare your small claims form based on where you decide to sue. Usually, people sue where the defendant lives or does business.
Then, wherever you decide to sue, look up the county's small claims system. They’ll provide details on their website about what small claims forms are necessary. You can read more about the small claims process here.
Serve your Small Claims Paperwork
One of the last steps before your trial will be to physically give the small claims paperwork to the defendant. This is called “serving” the defendant. You can’t serve the defendant yourself, but you can find someone else to do it. Many people hire professional process servers. There are legal guidelines that you must follow so that your case can go to court.
Defendants may sometimes avoid service. In order to keep your court date, you should hire a professional process server so that you can be sure all legal guidelines are appropriately followed.
Attend your Small Claims Trial
On the date of your small claims trial, be sure to arrive early and well prepared. Bring at least three copies of all evidence you intend to present, and if your hearing is remote be sure to have provided copies in advance to the other party and to the court. Failure to follow the strict local guidelines can result in your case being dismissed, but if you’ve followed the rules then you can often win by default when the other party doesn’t show up.
How Much it Costs
So how much will you spend by suing in small claims court?
- Court Filing Fees: The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit depends on how much you are suing for and where you are suing. You can expect to pay between $30 to $400 to file the lawsuit. If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees.
- Serving Costs: Once the lawsuit is filed, you must notify the defendant that you have sued them. This is called "serving." Serving Costs can range from $20-100 depending upon the local area.
Remember, if you win, you can request that the other party pay for your court fees and serving costs.
The Benefits of Small Claims Court
- Court filing fees are cheaper in small claims than in other courts.
- The process is faster in small claims than in other courts, as your hearing will usually be scheduled 30-70 days after you file the lawsuit.
- Lawyers are generally not allowed in small claims, which helps keep the costs of suing low.
Taking the First Step in Your Lawsuit
If all of this work seems complicated or daunting, rest assured that it's easier than it initially seems. 2.7 million small claims court cases are filed annually in the US, which is only growing as more people realize how easy it is to enforce their legal rights in court.
Suing can be a complex and challenging process. It's essential to gather evidence and understand the legal process. If you believe that you have been the victim of this crime, don't hesitate to seek legal advice. By taking action, you can hold the company accountable for its actions and receive the compensation you deserve.