Exposure is everything in Hollywood, however, being exposed is never a good thing. It now looks like Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. (Sony) is prepared to say sorry to some of its [former] employees whose personal information was compromised in the massive November 2014 data breach carried out by the North Korean hacker group, Guardians of Peace. According to a filing earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Sony and the former employees have reached an agreement “in principle” to settle all of the claims of the punitive class action against Sony.
Initially, multiple plaintiffs filed complaints against Sony, alleging that Sony failed to implement the necessary safeguards to prevent cyber attacks. Plaintiffs pointed to a 2011 attack on Sony’s PlayStation Network that breached millions of accounts, as an example of Sony’s dearth of cyber security. These lawsuits were consolidated into a single case and on March 2, 2015, Michael Corona, who worked for Sony from 2004 to 2007, and eight other named individuals filed a class action against Sony. Mr. Corona stated in the original complaint that he now spends $700 a year on identity theft protection and believes this cost to him will be uncapped.
Back in June of this year Sony filed a motion to dismiss the case, which failed. U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner allowed most of the plaintiffs’ claims to proceed. A class certification was scheduled for September 14, 2015, however the proposed settlement was reached prior to the date. Plaintiffs will have until October 19, 2015 to motion for preliminary approval of the proposed settlement.
- Corona v. Sony Pictures Entm’t, Inc., No. 14-CV-09600 RGK EX, 2015 WL 3916744 (C.D. Cal. June 15, 2015).
- In re Sony Gaming Networks & Customer Data Sec. Breach Litig., 903 F. Supp. 2d 942 (S.D. Cal. 2012).
- Jonathan Stempel, Sony Fails to Dismiss Lawsuit over “Interview’ Data Hacking, 30 WL J. Emp. 12 (2015).
- Valerie B. Barnhart, Employee Data Privacy Issues: Risk and Responsibility in Cyberincidents, 22 WL J. Class Action 2 (2015).
- Ted Johnson, Sony Reaches Settlement in Hacking Lawsuit, Variety (Sept. 2, 2015, 4:02pm), http://variety.com/2015/film/news/sony-hack-lawsuit-settlement-1201584589/.
- Ryan Faughnder, Sony Pictures reaches settlement in hacking lawsuit, L.A. Times (Sept. 2, 2015, 5:36pm), http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-sony-hack-studio-reaches-agreement-to-settle-with-plaintiffs-20150902-story.html.
- Jessica Karmasek, Sony Pictures, former employees reach tentative settlement over data breach, Legal Newsline (Sept. 8, 2015, 2:08pm), http://legalnewsline.com/stories/510 637199-sony-pictures-former-employees-reach-tentative-settlement-over-data-breach.