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Ontario Court of Appeal Rules Insurer Must Defend Breach of Privacy Case Against Nurse

28 March 2018
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Cavalluzzo LLP has successfully fought a hospital's insurance company's appeal where the insurer argued that it did not have to defend a nurse who had been sued for alleged privacy breaches. In Oliveira, a nurse applied to the Superior Court for insurance coverage under her hospital's policy after a former patient sued her and the hospital. The patient alleged in her lawsuit that the nurse inappropriately accessed her medical records, breaching her privacy. The nurse was seeking from the Court an order that the hospital's insurer cover the cost of the defence of the patient's action.

The Superior Court cited with the nurse in a groundbreaking decision, concluding that standard commercial general liability policy language that covers privacy claims was meant to insure against this kind of claim by a patient. The insurer appealed and, on March 23, 2018, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal in short but clear reasons. A copy of the reasons is HERE.

The nurse was successfully represented at all levels of Court by Stephen Moreau and Michael Mandarino. The decision will have a significant impact on all similar hospital insurance policies, if not other CGL policies, in future. Privacy law claims are increasingly common, and insurers and insured persons will want to be aware of this decision as a result.

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