Person using data privacy to ensure security on computer

Data Privacy Breaches: The Role of Class Action Lawsuits

By Greg Kohn

In a time where digital transactions dominate, the risk of data privacy breaches has escalated, leading to a surge in class action lawsuits. As these breaches occur globally, companies face millions in expenditures per incident. For individuals affected by such breaches, the question arises: What steps should you take if your data is compromised in a significant breach?

Our New Jersey class action attorneys walk you through the process.

The Rise of Class Actions for Data Privacy Breaches

In the fast-paced, ever-evolving world of technology, data breaches have become a stark reality, affecting millions globally. It’s more than a technical glitch; it’s a deep invasion of our digital privacy. In this landscape, class actions against data breaches aren’t just legal actions; they are powerful movements spearheaded by the people. They represent a collective stand against tech behemoths, pushing for stringent data protection and privacy standards. 

It’s about seeking financial redress and shaping a future where our digital selves are as respected and protected as our physical selves. This movement is redefining accountability in the digital age.

Immediate Actions for Data Breach Victims

Prompt action is critical if your personal information is compromised in a data breach. Here’s a step-by-step approach to protect yourself:

  • Change Passwords Immediately:
    • Update passwords for all affected accounts.
    • Use strong, unique passwords for each account.
  • Add Security Alerts to Credit Reports:
    • Contact major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert.
    • This requires lenders to verify your identity before extending credit.
  • Consider a Credit Freeze:
    • Freezing your credit prevents unauthorized access to your credit report.
    • This blocks fraudsters from opening new accounts in your name.
  • Monitor Bank and Financial Accounts:
    • Regularly check your accounts for unauthorized transactions.
    • Set up alerts for unusual account activity.
  • Stay Alert for Credit Fraud and Identity Theft:
    • Watch for signs of identity theft, like unknown accounts on your credit report.
    • Report any suspicious activity to relevant authorities immediately.

Taking these steps diligently can significantly mitigate the risk of further damage following a data breach.

Understanding the Role of Class Action Attorneys

Class action attorneys are instrumental in navigating the legal landscape following a data breach. The typical process includes:

  • Case Evaluation: Attorneys assess the breach’s impact and potential legal grounds.
  • Evidence Collection: Gathering proof of privacy violations and harm suffered by the plaintiffs.
  • Filing the Lawsuit: Formally submitting the class action lawsuit in court.
  • Certification as a Class Action: The court must certify the lawsuit as a class action, recognizing the similar interests of the plaintiffs.
  • Discovery Phase: Both sides exchange information and evidence relevant to the case.
  • Settlement Negotiations: Attempt to reach an agreement before trial. Many class actions are settled in this phase.
  • Trial: If no settlement is reached, the case goes to trial for a decision.
  • Resolution and Distribution: Compensation is distributed to class members after a verdict or settlement.

Each step requires precise legal expertise, underscoring the importance of skilled class action attorneys in these complex matters.

Recent Class Action Lawsuits

Class action lawsuits play a crucial role in addressing data privacy breaches. Here are three notable cases:

  • Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Settlement (2022): Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook agreed to settle a lawsuit for allowing third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, to access users’ private data. This lawsuit alleged that Facebook violated consumer privacy laws by sharing personal data with entities like Cambridge Analytica.
  • Columbia University Data Breach (2023): An alumna filed a lawsuit against Columbia University for failing to protect sensitive information, leading to a breach in 2023. The university is accused of not adhering to cybersecurity protocols and delaying breach notification.
  • Northwell Health Data Breach (2023): A lawsuit was filed against Northwell Health and Perry Johnson & Associates for failing to safeguard sensitive patient data during a breach that affected nearly 4 million individuals. The breach occurred between March and May 2023, with allegations of delayed notification to the affected patients.

These are just a handful of lawsuits attempting to change how companies safeguard our data.

Has Your Privacy Been Breached?

Safeguarding your personal information is paramount. Understanding your legal options is crucial if you’re facing the aftermath of a data breach. At Nagel Rice LLP, we specialize in guiding individuals through the complexities of class action lawsuits related to data privacy. Interested in learning more about how we can help? Feel free to reach out to us at Nagel Rice LLP.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.