Sony Fails To Get Employees’ Hacking Attack Lawsuit Dismissed

Sony Pictures Entertainment got some of what it wanted in its motion to dismiss, but still has to face claims of negligence that its security wasn’t sufficient to protect past and present employee’s private information from ending up all over the World Wide Web. Long story short – Sony is facing more fallout from last fall’s massive hack, this time in court.

“Plaintiffs …allege that based on prior data breaches at other Sony companies and audits of Sony’s own security systems, specifically with regard to human resource records, it was foreseeable that a data breach would occur and that Plaintiffs’ would suffer harm,” wrote Judge Gary Klausner in an order dated June 15 (read it here). “Nonetheless, Sony made a business decision to not expend the money needed to shore up its system, and instead to accept the risk of a security breach. As a result, of Sony’s failure to maintain an adequate security system and timely notify Plaintiffs of the breach, Plaintiffs suffered the injury discussed.”

Sony had no comment on this week’s decision.

The U.S. District judge did toss the portion of the lawsuit from Michael Corona and other ex-Sony employees that the studio didn’t notify them in a “timely” fashion of the huge data breach and that their info had ended up on the Internet. In an additional boon to the former Sony employees, Judge Klausner let stand their claims of violations of the California Customer Records Act, the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act and the Unfair Competition Law for their records being made publicly available, among others.

Corona and Christina Mathis were the first to file lawsuits back on December 15 last year after the allegedly North Korean-dictated breach of Sony’s systems spewed out emails, info and everything else starting in late November. In theory, the attack was due to the studio’s distribution of The Interview pic about the assassination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un. Most of the other plaintiffs in the legal actions against the studio followed shortly afterward. Their cases were consolidated into one suit earlier this year. Not long afterward, Amy Pascal stepped down from her position as co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of the Motion Picture Group as a consequence of the hacking and correspondence of her’s that was leaked.

Led by Cari Laufenberg of Seattle’s Keller Rohrback LLP, the plaintiffs are represented by a team of lawyers from several firms. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale And Dorr LLP are representing Sony in the matter.

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