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District Court approves $1.75 million data breach settlement

Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security Courts Settlement Data Breach Class Action State Issues California CCPA

Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

On March 3, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted final approval of a $1.75 million class action settlement resolving allegations related to a 2020 data breach that compromised nearly 100,000 individuals’ personally identifiable information, including financial information, social security numbers, health records, and other personal data. The affected individuals are students, parents, and guardians who were enrolled in a system used to manage student data in a California school district. According to class members, by failing to adequately safeguard users’ login credentials and by failing to timely notify individuals of the breach, the company violated, among other things, California’s unfair competition law, the California Customer Records Act, and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company is required to pay a non-reversionary settlement amount of $1.75 million, which will be used to compensate class members and pay for attorney fees and costs, service awards, and administrative expenses. Additionally, as outlined in the motion for preliminary approval of the class action settlement, class members are eligible to submit claims for “ordinary losses” (capped at $1,000 per person), as well as “extraordinary losses” (capped at $10,000 per person). Ordinary losses include expenses such as bank fees, long distance phone charges, certain cell phone charges, postage, gasoline for local travel, “[f]ees for additional credit reports, credit monitoring, or other identity theft insurance products,” and up to 40 hours of time, at $25/hour, for at least one full hour used to deal with the data breach. Extraordinary losses are described as those “arising from financial fraud or identity theft” where the “loss is an actual, documented, and unreimbursed monetary loss” and is “fairly traceable to the data breach” and not already covered by another reimbursement category. Class members must also show that they made “reasonable efforts to avoid, or seek reimbursement for, the loss.” All class members will be offered 12 months of credit monitoring and identity theft protection at no cost, and the company will implement “information security enhancements” to prevent future occurrences.