Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I know if I am affected by the Lawsuit and Settlement?
- What is this case about?
- Why is there a settlement?
- Why is this a class action?
- How do I know if I am included in the Settlement?
- What does this Settlement provide?
- How do I submit a claim?
- What am I giving up as part of the Settlement?
- Will the Class Representatives receive compensation?
- How do I exclude myself from the Settlement?
- If I do not exclude myself, can I sue later?
- What happens if I do nothing at all?
- Do I have a lawyer in the case?
- How will the lawyers be paid?
- How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement?
- What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?
- When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
- Do I have to come to the hearing?
- May I speak at the hearing?
- How do I get more information about the Settlement?
How do I know if I am affected by the Lawsuit and Settlement?
You are a Settlement Class Member if you reside in the United States and were mailed written notification by Texas ENT that your Personal Information was or may have been compromised in the Data Incident, which occurred between August 9, 2021, and August 15, 2021. Settlement Class Members should have also received a Short Notice of the Settlement via postcard that included their Unique ID.
The Settlement Class specifically excludes:
- Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists (“Texas ENT”), the Related Entities, and their officers and directors;
- all Settlement Class Members who timely and validly request exclusion from the Settlement Class;
- any judges assigned to this case and their staff and family; and
- any other Person found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be guilty under criminal law of initiating, causing, aiding or abetting the criminal activity occurrence of the Data Incident or who pleads nolo contendere to any such charge.
The Long-Form Notice and this website explain the nature of the lawsuit and claims being settled, your legal rights, and the benefits to the Settlement Class.Back To Top
What is this case about?
This case is known as Lee et al. v. Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, PLLC, Case No. 2021-84322 filed in the 113th Judicial District Court for Harris County, Texas. The people who sued are called the “Plaintiffs” and the company they sued, Texas ENT, is known as the “Defendant” in this case. Texas ENT will be called “Defendant” in this throughtout this website.
Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Defendant, individually and on behalf of anyone whose personally identifiable information (“PII”) or personal health information (“PHI”) was potentially impacted as a result of the Data Incident.
This Lawsuit arises out of unauthorized access to Texas ENT’s systems and certain files containing sensitive information about Texas ENT’s current and former patients and employees, including, but not limited to, names, dates of birth, medical record numbers, procedure codes, Social Security numbers, and other types of personally identifiable information (collectively “Personal Information”), which occurred between August 9, 2021, and August 15, 2021 (the “Data Incident”). Texas ENT disagrees with Plaintiffs’ claims and denies any wrongdoing. After learning of the Data Incident, notification was mailed to persons whose Personal Information may have been impacted by the Data Incident. Subsequently, this Lawsuit was filed asserting claims against Texas ENT relating to the Data Incident.Back To Top
Why is there a settlement?
By agreeing to settle, both sides avoid the cost, disruption, and distraction of further litigation. The Class Representatives, Defendant, and their attorneys believe the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and, thus, best for the Settlement Class Members. The Court did not decide in favor of the Plaintiffs or Defendant. Full details about the proposed Settlement are found in the Settlement Agreement.Back To Top
Why is this a class action?
In a class action, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of all people who have similar claims. All of these people together are the “Settlement Class” or “Settlement Class Members.” Here, Plaintiffs and Class Representatives Cliff Lee, Daniel Flading, and Carolyn Toepfer sued on behalf of themselves and all Settlement Class Members.Back To Top
How do I know if I am included in the Settlement?
You are included in the Settlement if you reside in the United States and were mailed written notification by Texas ENT that your Personal Information was or may have been compromised in the Data Incident that occurred between August 9, 2021, and August 15, 2021. If you are not sure whether you are included as a Settlement Class Member, you may call the Claims Administrator’s toll-free number at 1-877-685-2830, or write to the Claims Administrator at:
Texas ENT Data Breach SettlementBack To Top
P.O. Box 2440
Portland, OR 97208-2440
What does this Settlement provide?
The proposed Settlement will provide the following benefits to Settlement Class Members:
1. Documented Out-of-Pocket Expense Reimbursement (Ordinary Losses): All Settlement Class Members who submitted a valid claim are eligible for reimbursement of the following documented out-of-pocket expenses, not to exceed $300 per Settlement Class Member, that were incurred as a result of the Data Incident:
- Long-distance phone charges;
- Cell phone charges (only if charged by the minute);
- Internet usage charges (if either charged by the minute or incurred solely as a result of the Data Incident);
- Costs of credit reports purchased between August 9, 2021, and October 23, 2023; and
- Documented costs associated with credit monitoring services and/or fraud resolution services purchased between August 9, 2021, and October 23, 2023, with a statement that the monitoring or service was purchased primarily because of the Data Incident and not for other purposes.
To receive reimbursement for any of the above-referenced out-of-pocket expenses, Settlement Class Members must have submitted a valid and timely claim, including necessary supporting documentation, to the Claims Administrator.
Claims made for out-of-pocket expenses can be combined with reimbursement for lost time and are subject to the same $300 cap for all Settlement Class Members.
2. Lost Time Reimbursement: Settlement Class Members are also eligible to receive reimbursement for up to three (3) hours of lost time spent dealing with the Data Incident (calculated at the rate of $20 per hour), but only if at least one (1) full hour was spent. Settlement Class Members may receive reimbursement for lost time if the Settlement Class Member:
- attests that any claimed lost time was spent responding to issues raised by the Data Incident; and
- provides a check-box style description, or written description if no checkbox is applicable, of how the claimed lost time was spent related to the Data Incident.
Claims made for lost time can be combined with reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and are subject to the same $300 cap for all Settlement Class Members.
3. Documented Extraordinary Loss Reimbursement: Settlement Class Members are also eligible to receive reimbursement for extraordinary losses, not to exceed $3,000 per Settlement Class Member for documented monetary loss that:
- is actual, documented, and unreimbursed;
- was more likely than not caused by the Data Incident;
- occurred between August 9, 2021, and October 23, 2023; and
- is not already covered by any of the above-referenced documented out-of-pocket expenses or lost time reimbursement categories.
4. Credit Monitoring: Settlement Class Members whose Social Security numbers were involved in the Data Incident can elect to enroll in two years of three-bureau credit monitoring services. The remaining Settlement Class Members whose Social Security numbers were NOT involved in the Data Incident can elect to enroll in two years of IdentityForce RapidResponse ID. Settlement Class Members who wished to claim credit monitoring must have done so by the Claims Deadline on October 23, 2023, by selecting the applicable credit monitoring option on the Claim Form.
Information Security Improvements: Texas ENT will implement and keep in place various security-related improvements for a period of one year. Costs associated with these security improvements will be paid by Texas ENT separate and apart from other settlement benefits.Back To Top
How do I submit a claim?
The deadline to submit a claim was October 23, 2023.Back To Top
What am I giving up as part of the Settlement?
If you stayed in the Settlement Class, you will be eligible to receive benefits, but you will not be able to sue Texas ENT and its Related Entities, each of their past or present parents, subsidiaries, divisions, and related or affiliated entities, and each of their respective predecessors, successors, directors, officers, principals, agents, attorneys, insurers, and reinsurers regarding the claims in this case. The Settlement Agreement, which includes all provisions about settled claims, releases, and Released Persons, is available here.
The only way to keep the right to sue is to have excluded yourself (see FAQ 10). Otherwise you will be included in the Settlement Class, if the Settlement is approved, and you will give up the right to sue for the claims in this case.Back To Top
Will the Class Representatives receive compensation?
Yes. The Class Representatives will each request a service award of up to $1,500 to compensate them for their services and efforts in bringing the Lawsuit. The Court will make the final decision as to the amount, if any, to be paid to the Class Representatives.Back To Top
How do I exclude myself from the Settlement?
The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was October 23, 2023.Back To Top
If I do not exclude myself, can I sue later?
No. If you did not exclude yourself from the Settlement and the Settlement is approved by the Court, you forever gave up the right to sue the Released Persons for the claims this Settlement resolves.Back To Top
What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you did nothing, you will be bound by the Settlement if the Court approves it, you will not get any money from the Settlement, and you will not be able to start or proceed with a lawsuit or be part of any other lawsuit against the Released Persons about the settled claims in this case at any time.Back To Top
Do I have a lawyer in the case?
Yes. The Court has appointed Danielle Perry and Gary Mason of the law firm Mason LLP (called “Class Counsel”) to represent the interests of all Settlement Class Members in this case. You will not be charged for these lawyers.
If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.Back To Top
How will the lawyers be paid?
Class Counsel will apply to the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses in an amount not to exceed $195,000. A copy of Class Counsel’s Application for Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses will be posted on this website before the Final Fairness Hearing. The Court will make the final decisions as to the amounts to be paid to Class Counsel and may award less than the amount requested by Class Counsel.Back To Top
How do I tell the Court that I do not like the Settlement?
The deadline to object to the Settlement was October 23, 2023.Back To Top
What is the difference between objecting and asking to be excluded?
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the Settlement no longer affects you.Back To Top
When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?
The Court will hold the Final Fairness Hearing at on December 5, 2023, at 1:30 p.m., at 201 Caroline St., 10th Floor, Houston, TX 77002. The hearing may be moved to a different date, time, or location without additional notice, so it is recommended that you periodically check this website for updated information.
At the hearing, the Court will consider whether the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of Settlement Class Members and if it should be approved. If there are valid objections, the Court will consider them and listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing if the request was made properly. The Court will also consider the award of attorneys’ fees and expenses to Class Counsel and the request for a service award to the Class Representatives.Back To Top
Do I have to come to the hearing?
No. You are not required to come to the Final Fairness Hearing. However, you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense.
If you submitted an objection, you do not have to come to the hearing to talk about it. If your objection was submitted properly and on time, the Court will consider it. You also may pay your own lawyer to attend the Final Fairness Hearing, but that is not necessary.Back To Top
May I speak at the hearing?
Yes. You can speak at the Final Fairness Hearing, but you must ask the Court for permission. To request permission to speak, you must have filed an objection. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself from the Settlement.Back To Top
How do I get more information about the Settlement?
This website and the Long-Form Notice are only a summary of the proposed Settlement. If you want additional information about this lawsuit, including a copy of the Settlement Agreement, the Complaint, the Court’s Preliminary Approval Order, Class Counsel’s Application for Attorneys’ Fees and Expenses, and more, please visit the Documents page of this website or call 1-877-685-2830 (toll-free). You may also contact the Claims Administrator at:
Texas ENT Data Breach Settlement
P.O. Box 2440
Portland, OR 97208-2440
PLEASE DO NOT ADDRESS ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT OR LAWSUIT TO THE CLERK OF THE COURT, THE JUDGE, DEFENDANT, OR DEFENDANT’S COUNSEL.Back To Top