Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Privacy Class Action Suits on the Rise

Class action lawsuits related to privacy breaches are on the rise in the US and Canada. With the certification in Canada of Evans v. The Bank of Nova Scotia, the newly introduced "tort of intrusion upon seclusion has become another weapon in the arsenal for the class action plaintiffs’ bar."

The tort of intrusion upon seclusion emerged in Ontario in Jones v. Tsige, a case involving a bank employee who accessed a colleague’s personal information for her own purposes. There are three key features of the tort: the alleged conduct must be intentional and reckless; the defendant must have unlawfully invaded the plaintiff’s privacy; and the invasion must be offensive, humiliating or anguishing.

"When you have a class as big as 500,000 class members, $5,000 in nominal damages times 500,000 or 600,000 could actually be a pretty hefty damage award."
- Molly Reynolds, litigator, Torys LLP
Molly Reynolds, a litigator with Torys LLP, thinks these cases will send a message to organizations holding personal data. She said they need to be sure "they’re minimizing employees’ access to records that they don’t need for the purposes of their job and probably supplementing their ability to monitor whether employees are misusing their internal systems." Such monitoring of access to data can be accomplished with low-cost on-demand SaaS analytics services.
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Sources:
(a) Focus: Privacy Class Actions on the Rise - www.TheLawTimes.com, 09/02/2014

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