Sony Slapped With Negligence Suit By Ex-VP On Hacking Anniversary

A year to the day that Sony was ripped open by a massive hacking, the fallout continues from the public disclosure of private and corporate information. While one set of lawsuits move towards a multi-million settlement, today the studio’s former VP, Global Commercial Planning and Innovation Amy Heller hit Sony and other defendants with a multi-damages defamation, negligence and invasion of privacy lawsuit.

(UPDATE, Nov. 25, 10:45: Speaking of those other lawsuit against the studio for the hack, they are even one more step closer to be resolved. Federal Judge Gary Klausner late Tuesday gave a preliminary approval (read it here) to what he called the “fair and reasonable on its face” settlement, which was first revealed back in September by Deadline. The U.S. District judge also gave formal class certification to the matter, bringing all past and present Sony employees before November 24, 2014, as well as those of subsidiaries. That pushes class membership up to over 430,000 individuals -which means the couple of million being talked about right now may not end up being vert much at all. A hearing on final approval of the settlement deal is scheduled for March 16, 2016.

In her 5-claim jury seeking complaint, Heller wants unspecified compensation for loss of income and Sony not doing enough to safeguard its systems from the devastating November 24, 2014 hack. The ex-VP, who was laid off from the studio in the spring of 2014, is also claiming emotional distress and that Sony acted in “a deliberate, cold, callous, fraudulent, and intentional manner in order to injure and damage” her, says Tuesday’s filing (read it here).

This all comes out of an incident report accusing Heller of stealing $90 computer mouse that was missing from her office when she left  Sony due to staff reductions in March of last year. That seemingly damning report of Property Crime, the allegedly incorrect citation that Heller was “terminated” not laid off and the internal correspondence around it was all made public when the supposedly North Korean backed hackers and later WikiLeaks put the Sony documents, emails and more online. That dissemination has hacked off Heller’s attempts at a new job, the ex-Sony and decade long Paramount exec claims.

“In spite of her excellent qualifications, Ms. Heller has not been able to secure work at even well-below her prior executive level position,” says the 17-page complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court today. “Prospective employers know and see from Ms. Heller’s resume that she previously worked at Sony and, naturally, they inquire into or otherwise search to see if she was affected by the ‘Sony hack.’ And they naturally will not hire someone who was accused of theft from her last position.”

Even though they had all her contact info from 5-years at the studio, Heller claims that Sony never made an effort to contact her about the missing mouse in the months before the November 2014 hack. Tonight, Sony reps said the studio had no comment on Heller’s lawsuit – which isn’t the first and still may not be the last legal action arising out of the hack.

David deRubertis and Alyssa Schabloski of the Studio City-based The deRubertis Law Firm are representing Heller in her action.


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