What Are Some Examples of Data Breach Lawsuit Settlements - morgan and morgan
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Data Breach Lawsuit Settlements Examples

What Are Some Examples of Data Breach Lawsuit Settlements?

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What Are Some Examples of Data Breach Lawsuit Settlements?

A data breach represents an act in which an unauthorized party acquires confidential data for personal, professional, financial, or political gain. Victims of a data breach often do not discover the breach until several days or even weeks after the breach occurred. Sophisticated techniques have allowed criminals to breach the most complex data protection systems built by mega-corporations such as Marriott. In fact, Marriott experienced one of the largest data breaches in 2013 and 2014 that impacted the data of nearly 500 million consumers and more than 1.4 billion accounts.

Data breaches can lead to several different types of criminal activities, including identity theft and financial losses. When a company like Marriott fails to protect consumers against data breaches, consumers have a right to file civil lawsuits against a negligent company, non-profit organization, or a government agency. Because of the large number of potential plaintiffs, a data breach case such as the one against Marriott can grow into a class action lawsuit.

Another option is to reach a data breach lawsuit settlement, which helps plaintiffs avoid a costly and time-consuming civil trial. Class action lawsuits typically last longer than the civil lawsuits filed by individuals. If you experienced some type of loss because of a data breach, you should contact an experienced data breach attorney to determine whether to join a class action lawsuit or file an individual lawsuit against the company, non-profit organization, or government agency that committed one or more acts of negligence.

Since 1988, Morgan & Morgan has helped clients recover more than $15 billion in monetary damages for cases ranging from data breaches to personal injury incidents. Our team of data breach lawyers reviews your case to devise a strategy that helps you recover from financial losses. One option that we consider involves reaching a data breach lawsuit settlement with the other party. However, if we cannot reach a settlement agreement with the defendant, then we will not hesitate to file the proper documents that initiate a civil lawsuit.

Schedule a free case evaluation with one of the highly-rated data breach lawyers at Morgan & Morgan.

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FAQ

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  • What Are the Recent Data Breach Lawsuit Settlements?

    Companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies of all sizes have faced legal action in the form of a data breach lawsuit. Two recent data breach settlement lawsuits stand out for a large number of plaintiffs and the substantial monetary damages awarded by a judge or jury.

    Equifax Data Breach Lawsuit Settlement

    Equifax is one of the big three credit reporting bureaus. In 2017, Equifax experienced the largest data breach of personal and financial information in the history of the United States. The data breach negatively impacted nearly 150 million American consumers. Plaintiffs filed the Equifax class action lawsuit in November of 2017, claiming the credit reporting bureau failed to take measures to bolster the strength of its cybersecurity system. Although Equifax did not accept responsibility for the data breach, the credit reporting bureau reached a data breach lawsuit settlement of around $380 million that went into a restitution fund for the plaintiffs. The court awarded an additional $125 million to pay for out-of-pocket costs. Equifax also agreed to change business practices to ensure the protection of consumer personal and financial data.

    Anthem Data Breach Lawsuit Settlement

    As the largest insurance company in the United States, Anthem, Inc. agreed to a data breach lawsuit settlement in 2017 worth $115 million. The data breach compromised the private data of 80 million customers, which included Social Security numbers and bank account information. Customers of Anthem that used direct deposit to receive the money awarded for claims reported breaches of their bank accounts. Anthem eventually discovered that thieves retrieved the account and routing numbers of the company’s customers that opted for direct deposits into their bank accounts.

  • How Do I Benefit From a Class Action Lawsuit?

    The most important question to answer for someone who experienced a data breach is whether to file an individual civil lawsuit or join a class action lawsuit. For a data breach case that involves hundreds of plaintiffs, many judges encourage plaintiffs to combine individual lawsuits to reduce the caseload faced by civil courts. Joining a class action allows large groups of plaintiffs to join together in the filing of a civil lawsuit. Class action lawsuits represent the perfect example of the benefit called “strength in numbers,” as civil court judges and juries side with a large group of plaintiffs that fell victims to one or more data breaches.

    Class action lawsuits help plaintiffs share the financial burden of going through the litigation process. However, because of the large number of plaintiffs, class action lawsuits pay out less money than if an individual filed a successful civil lawsuit. Many class action judgments require defendants to offer restitution in the form of some type of monetary award, as well as change the way they conduct business to prevent future data breaches.

  • How Do I Prove Negligence for a Data Breach Lawsuit?

    Proving negligence for a data breach case involves checking off four elements that define negligence. First, you must demonstrate the defendant has a duty of care to protect your private data and information. Courts have established the legal precedent that companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies have a duty of care to protect private data and information. Second, plaintiffs have to show the defendant violated the legal principle called duty of care. This comes in the form of evidence and the testimony provided by witnesses.

    Third, the plaintiffs have to suffer some type of harm. For a data breach civil lawsuit, the harm caused by a data breach is usually financial. Finally, the legal counsel representing the large group of plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit has to show the defendant’s negligence was responsible for the plaintiffs suffering financial losses.

  • How Do Settlements Work?

    Both plaintiffs and defendants can benefit from reaching a data breach lawsuit settlement. Both parties have several opportunities to reach a settlement agreement, with the first opportunity happening before filing a data breach lawsuit. The attorneys representing the class of plaintiffs present an offer that the other party can accept, deny, or counteroffer. Negotiations can go back and forth many times before either the lawsuit reaches a settlement or the case continues moving forward in the judicial system.

    The second opportunity to reach a data breach lawsuit settlement occurs during the discovery phase of a civil trial. Both sides exchange evidence and the statements made by witnesses during the discovery phase. By sharing information, both parties determine whether they should take the case to trial. Typically, sharing information helps persuade both parties to at least make a reasonable effort to reach a data breach lawsuit settlement. The last opportunity to reach a legal settlement occurs when a judge asks both parties to meet one more time in an attempt to resolve a data breach lawsuit.

  • What Are the Damages Awarded for a Data Breach Lawsuit?

    Replacing financial losses represents the most common type of damages awarded for a data breach lawsuit. Financial losses can include theft from a bank account, as well as being victimized by credit card fraud. Judges frequently make compensating plaintiffs for financial losses the cornerstone of a judicial decision. Other types of financial losses include property loss and the fraudulent filing of taxes.

    Stolen personal information represents another type of damages awarded in a data breach case. Unlike the misuse of personal data and information, calculating a value for devalued personal information is not as easy to do. Your data breach lawyer determines how much your compromised personal has cost you up to the date of the legal decision, as well as estimated future costs that are associated with devalued personal information.

    Plaintiffs also have the right to seek compensation for the costs associated with repairing credit scores and returning to a favorable taxpayer status. Although the time and effort put in to restore a plaintiff’s reputation is difficult to quantify, each of the plaintiffs that join a data breach class action lawsuit has the right to seek monetary damages that cover the costs of reputation mitigation efforts.

    The last class of damages is called pain and suffering, which is another category that is difficult to calculate. Each plaintiff involved in a class action lawsuit experiences a different level of mental and emotional distress that has an adverse impact on the development of personal and professional relationships. Pain and suffering damages can include the costs associated with acute anxiety and prolonged depression.

  • How Do I Prevent a Data Breach?

    Companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies can take several steps to minimize the possibility of falling victim to a data breach. How diligent the other party was in protecting your personal data and information goes a long way towards determining if you and the defendant reach a data breach lawsuit settlement.

    Eliminate the Data and Information You Do Not Need

    Your organization has to decide on a cut-off period when eliminating data and information becomes a priority. For example, you can set a period of five years for keeping the data and information stored in your system for bank customers.

    More Than Digital Protection

    Following the latest standard for creating an effective cybersecurity, the system is one way to bolster your data protection. However, you also should take measures to safeguard hard data and information that is kept in paper files. Conduct thorough employee background checks to weed out potential problem employees, as well as restrict access to sensitive data and information only to employees that need access to it.

    Destroy Sensitive Data and Information

    Cross-cutting paper shredding machines do a great job of destroying paper documents. Destroying portable media such as CDs and DVDs protects the data and information shared by your customers or clients. Wipe hard drive clean and even better, destroy hard drives after wiping them clean.

    Conduct Training

    Your employees need to receive guidance on how to maximize the protections for private data and information. Start by establishing written policies, and then conduct frequent training sessions that update employees about the strategies thieves use to breach data. Employees must know the difference between sensitive data and data that does not require as much protective scrutiny.

  • Work With a Data Breach Attorney

    Working with a data breach attorney provides you with several benefits. You receive the feedback you need to decide whether to file an individual lawsuit or join a class action lawsuit. Your legal counsel completes a thorough investigation into your case to determine whether the other party should assume legal liability for allowing a data breach.

    Join a class action lawsuit for a data breach today by scheduling a free case evaluation with a lawyer from Morgan & Morgan.

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