Class certification threshold lowered in data breach cases

11th Circuit decision reminds companies to protect their data

With data security risk now ranked as their top legal concern (see “Top of the List”), general counsel are closely watching class action suits in which plaintiffs are claiming damages from the loss or theft of personal information.

Several cases have failed to survive the class certification phase because plaintiffs whose personally identifiable information (PII) had been compromised couldn’t prove damages or directly tie the theft of their identity to a data breach. But an 11th Circuit ruling in September appears to have lowered the threshold. A divided panel in Resnick v. AvMed, Inc. reversed in part a district court’s ruling denying class certification and dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims.

Impact Disputed

Although class certification will remain a crucial first battle area in such lawsuits, experts disagree about Resnick’s impact on future cases.  

Michael Kozubek

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