A little-noticed consequence of the increasing ransomware attacks on American businesses is the rise of class action lawsuits brought by consumers and workers impacted by the disruptions caused by these cybersecurity breaches.
For example, gas station operators who ran out of fuel during the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack are suing over their lost profits, citing alleged lax cybersecurity. Thousands of gas stations across a dozen states were affected. A similar class-action suit has been filed in Georgia federal court by consumers forced to pay higher prices for gas as result of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack.
California health care giant Scripps Health has been sued in multiple class actions over a ransomware attack that allegedly led to the disclosure of confidential patient medical information. Health records vendor Allscripts was likewise sued over a ransomware attack that allegedly shut down access to patient data for thousands of clients.
Many of the new ransomware class action suits seek damages well beyond those sought in traditional data breach cases, such as lost profits, increased gas prices and other monetary damages. According to veteran class action plaintiff’s lawyer John Yanchunis, ransomware class actions are a “extremely developing and increasing area.”
Defense firm Carlton Fields has described ransomware class action suits as a “two-headed monster” where the victim of a ransomware attack faces litigation exposure for failing to do more to prevent the attack. According to Carlton Fields, the risk of ransomware is likely “here to stay,” along with the increasing risk of class action suits filed in the wake of these attacks.
UWWM will continue to monitor developments in this and other class and mass tort actions, and will publish additional bulletins and updates for the benefit of its clients and colleagues.
The select mediators and arbitrators at UWWM’s Center for National Class and Mass Actions have decades of specific experience in class and mass actions and are uniquely qualified to assist you in resolving these legal disputes. For further information and scheduling, please visit our website.