Sauder Schelkopf is investigating a potential class action lawsuit against BetterHelp, the online counseling service, for allegedly sharing the personal health and/or personal identifiable information of millions of consumers. In March 2023, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a $7.8 million settlement with BetterHelp, resolving allegations of improper health data-sharing practices.
March 3, 2023: The Federal Trade Commission reported in part:
BetterHelp used a wide variety of tactics to share the health information of over 7 million consumers with platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo, and Pinterest for the purpose of advertising. You’ll want to read the complaint for details, but here are just a few examples. In 2017, BetterHelp allegedly uploaded the email addresses of all current and former clients to Facebook – nearly 2 million in total – to target them with ads to refer their Facebook friends to BetterHelp for mental health services. During another period, the FTC says BetterHelp disclosed to Facebook for advertising purposes the previous therapy of 1.5 million people who visited or used BetterHelp’s site. The source of that information: their responses to the intake question “Have you been in counseling or therapy before?”
But that’s not all. According to the complaint, BetterHelp broke its privacy promises by disclosing to Snapchat the IP and email addresses of approximately 5.6 million former visitors to target them with BetterHelp ads. In addition, for a six-month period, the company disclosed to Criteo the email addresses of over 70,000 visitors – including people who had looked into Pride Counseling and Faithful Counseling. Similarly, for a one-year period, BetterHelp disclosed visitors’ email addresses to Pinterest. What was in it for BetterHelp? According to the complaint, “Using this health information for advertising, [BetterHelp] has brought in hundreds of thousands of new Users, resulting in millions of dollars in additional revenue.”
Sauder Schelkopf has a nationally recognized litigation practice. The firm currently serves as court-appointed lead counsel in courts across the country. The attorneys at Sauder Schelkopf have recovered over $500 million on behalf of their clients and class members. Our firm was recognized by the Legal Intelligencer’s 2022 Professional Excellence Awards. The Legal Intelligencer’s Professional Excellence Awards honor Pennsylvania law firms and attorneys who have significantly impacted the legal profession. Our firm was named in the Litigation Departments of the Year (Specialty Area category; runner-up), an award that honors the best litigation practice in a small or mid-sized firm in Pennsylvania. This recognition was based on the firm’s 2021 litigation work and its important ongoing cases. LawDragon has recognized our attorneysin its list of the “500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers” for 2022. This list notes: “From the opioid epidemic to toxic substances and defective products, truck accidents to wildfires and sexual abuse, these are the lawyers who stand on the front line in individual lawsuits and class actions seeking justice.” Mr. Schelkopf was named to Pennsylvania’s Best Lawyers® 2022 for Class Actions/Mass Tort Litigation. The American Lawyer named Mr. Sauder to its 2021 Northeast Trailblazers. The honor recognizes 60 lawyers who are “truly agents of change.” It “recognizes professionals in the Northeast who have moved the needle in the legal industry.” The Legal Intelligencer named Mr. Sauder and Mr. Schelkopf in its 2020 Pennsylvania Trailblazers list recognizing 31 lawyers who “have taken extra measures to contribute to positive outcomes . . . and who are truly agents of change.” The Legal highlighted the firm’s innovative work on advocacy as class counsel in large institutional sex abuse cover-ups, women’s, and children’s rights. Our attorneys have also consistently been recognized by their peers being named to Pennsylvania SuperLawyer, a distinction held by the top 5% of attorneys in Pennsylvania. The National Trial Lawyers Association has also selected our attorneys as the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania.
We Want to Hear from You
If you were a patient of BetterHelp and shared personal health and/or personal identifiable information, please fill out the form on this page.