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Without data breach class actions, large corporate defendants would be able to cause small amounts of harm over a large group of individuals without any risk of monetary penalty.
Holding companies accountable for poor cybersecurity and data theft incidents helps ensure that consumers are better protected in the future.
Yes, in most cases. However, each case is different, but some recent lawsuits have proven to be quite valuable. In one data breach suit, Ohio Attorney General and attorneys general in other states obtained a $17.5 million settlement against The Home Depot due to a data breach in 2014. The settlement resolves a multistate data breach which exposed the payment card information of approximately 40 million Home Depot consumers.
The Home Depot data breach made vulnerable the company’s self-checkout point-of-sale system. In addition to the $17.5 million settlement, The Home Depot has agreed to improve network security and maintain data security practices in order to strengthen its data security program and protect the personal information of consumers.
Under current privacy law the firm or organization that is storing user data are responsible for data breaches and will pay any fines or damages that are the result of legal action. The actual data holder—an organization that provides cloud storage—is not usually legally implicated or held responsible in litigation.
The majority of data breach incidents are accidental, and not actually hacking events. Outside threats do pose personal data risks for consumers, though the bigger risk is the internal security and cloud-based data network. Some common ways data can be compromised include:
Privacy laws are meant to protect patients’ personal health data, and when institutions fail to protect personal data they may be sued for damages. In recent years much health data has been leaked and stolen, causing significant damages to plaintiffs who have have taken legal action.
In a recent case the American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA) settled with nearly 21 million people in 40 states and Washington D.C. concerning a data breach that may have exposed their personal information. The breach, which occurred in 2018, lasted nearly a year until official notice of the intrusion.
An unauthorized user gained access to the AMCA internal data system and collected the personal information, including Social Security numbers, financial information, and personal health information, such as medical tests and diagnostic codes.
Quest Diagnostics was alerted that the hack exposed the personal medical data of 11.9 million of its patients. LabCorp had 7.7 million patients exposed. A number of class action lawsuits were filed throughout the country, alleging negligence, breach of contract, and a variety privacy violations concerning data security.
A Class Action is a lawsuit brought by an individual on behalf of all other similarly situated individuals. Rule 23 of the Federal and State Rules of Civil Procedure allows for Class Action lawsuits to resolve disputes in an efficient format.
Class Actions are typically filed when the amount of money in dispute for a single plaintiff would not justify litigating the case, but where the amount of damages of the entire class of Plaintiffs would justify the cost of litigation. Without class actions, large corporate defendants would be able to cause small amounts of harm over a large group of individuals without any risk of monetary penalty.
In order for a case to be certified as a Class Action, the Court must determine that the case is appropriate for class action treatment under Rule 23. There are different elements depending on whether the case is seeking monetary or injunctive relief. In general, the Court must find the following elements are satisfied:
Following a data breach incident, or receiving a data breach notification letter, victims should consider talking to a legal expert, and move quickly to take the following steps to help prevent identity theft and fraud: