Cybersecurity & Data Privacy

Sony Data Breach

Issue: Failure to safeguard confidential employee records
Result: $8 million settlement

Lieff Cabraser served as Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel in class action litigation against Sony for its failure to take reasonable measures to secure the data of its employees from hacking and other attacks. In October 2015, an $8 million settlement was reached under which Sony will reimburse employees for losses and harm.

In 2014, hackers stole the personally identifiable information of thousands of current and former Sony employees and their families (including Social Security Numbers, addresses, salaries and other employment information, and medical information), and published some of the information on the Internet.  In April 2016, the Court approved a class settlement that provides for up to $4.5 million to reimburse class members for their losses, and also provides class members with two additional years of identity protection services.

In rejecting Sony’s motion to dismiss the core allegations of the lawsuit, the Court stated, “It is reasonable to infer that the data breach and resulting publication of plaintiffs’ [personal identifying information] has drastically increased their risk of identity theft, relative to both the time period before the breach, as well as to the risk born by the general public.” The Court added, “It is commonly known that the consequences resulting from identity theft can be both serious and long-lasting.”

Sony Data Hack Lawsuit Allegations

The complaint, filed on December 18, 2014, charged that Sony owed a duty to take reasonable step to secure the data of its employees from hacking. Sony allegedly breached this duty by failing to properly invest in adequate IT security, despite having already succumbed to one of the largest data breaches in history only three years ago.

The complaint alleged that Sony’s acts and omissions constituted negligence and violated California law including the California data breach notification and medical records retention statutes. The lawsuit sought damages and injunctive relief.

Proposed Class

The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of all current and former employees of Sony, and their families, within the United States whose personally identifiable information was compromised by the recent data breach.