LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — When you go to the doctor, you expect your private information to remain…private. You certainly don’t expect it to end up in a public park in plain sight.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is filing a civil suit against two chiropractic offices for doing just that.
The lawsuit alleges that 501 Pain and Rehab in Conway and Russellville put their patients at risk when they dumped boxes of personal information files at Palarm Park near the Arkansas River.
It was November 2020 when Mayflower police say pages and pages of personal information were dumped in plain view.
“They were all in trash bags, they were in boxes, a couple desks were here, office chairs, things like that,” said Detective Taylor Decker with the Mayflower police department.
City workers had just started their day and noticed a white truck in the parking lot.
“Somewhere around 8 o’clock, 7 or 8 o’clock,” said Decker. “It was broad daylight.” They didn’t think much of the truck, but then found something peculiar.
“They just went to discard the trash like normal and that’s when they noticed medical files, what appeared to them as medical files,” Decker said.
And on those papers?
“It was names, social security numbers, addresses, birthdates, relatives, emergency contact information,” Decker said.
It wasn’t hard to figure out from where the documents came.
“It had the name of the clinic, the name of the doctor on most of them, it had doctors’ signatures,” Decker said.
And that white truck, police say, was registered in the clinic owners’ name.
More than 270 different patient files dumped, a free for all for would-be identity thieves.
“Just standing right here from the pavement, and looking into the debris here, you could probably could have forged 15 credit cards,” Decker said.
Mayflower police say all they could do was charge 501 Pain and Rehab with illegal dumping.
So, they passed it over to the attorney general, who filed a civil suit against the clinics.
“This is under the Privacy Protection Act, as well as the deceptive trade practices,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Rutledge says Arkansans expect privacy when they go to the doctor.
“They did not expect to have their personal information dumped outside next to a park,” Rutledge said.
The goal of the lawsuit, she says, is to put an end to this dangerous practice and hold 501 Pain and Rehab accountable.
The lawsuit carries civil penalties up to $10,000 for each violation.
We tried to call 501 Pain and Rehab for comment, but got a recording saying the phone number was no longer in service.