Monday, July 15, 2013

Settlement of Sony Playstation hack class action in Canada reinforces privacy damages will be limited where no actual harm shown

Dan Michaluk just posted about the newly-approved settlement of the Canadian class action stemming from the Sony playstation hack (Settlement approved in Canadian cyber attack suit | All About Information). The case itself is here: Maksimovic v. Sony of Canada Ltd., 2013 CanLII 41305.

The important principle to take away from this case is that class actions, damage awards and even legal fees do not amount to much in Canada if you can't prove actual harm:

[13] There were extensive negotiations in Canada, and the parties did negotiate a Settlement Agreement. The major terms of the settlement are as follows:
  • Class Members who had a credit balance in their PSN or SOE account at the time of the Intrusions but have not used any of their accounts shall receive cash payments for credit balances.
  • The Sony Entities will make available online game and service benefits to class members geared principally to the type of account (PSN, Qriocity, and/or SOE) held by the class member at the time of the Intrusions.
  • The settlement benefits are available through a simple process. To become entitled to benefits, Class Members need only to complete a claim form.
  • The Sony Entities will reimburse any Class Members who can demonstrate that they suffered Actual Identity Theft, as defined in the Settlement Agreement.
  • Class Members that prove Identity Theft can submit claims for reimbursement of out-of-pocket payments (not otherwise reimbursed) for expenses that are incurred as a direct result of the Actual Identity Theft, up to a maximum of $2,500.00 per claim.
  • The Sony Entities are to pay for the costs associated with providing notice of the Settlement Agreement and the settlement approval hearing, all administration costs, as well as an agreed amount for plaintiffs’ lawyers’ fees and expenses.

[14] Class Counsel requests approval of a fee of $265,000 inclusive of fees, disbursements, and applicable taxes. This claim is less than the value of the docketed time for the matter, which exceeds $300,000.

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