On June 10th, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice approved a settlement in a class action brought against Sony of Canada Ltd. and others. The action (for breach of contract) followed an April 2011 cyber attack that targeted accountholder information of approximately 4.5 million individuals enrolled in various Sony online services. The following is the Court’s summary of the settlement:
- Class Members who had a credit balance in their PSN or SOE account at the time of the Intrusions but have not used any of their accounts shall receive cash payments for credit balances.
- The Sony Entities will make available online game and service benefits to class members geared principally to the type of account (PSN, Qriocity, and/or SOE) held by the class member at the time of the Intrusions.
- The settlement benefits are available through a simple process. To become entitled to benefits, Class Members need only to complete a claim form.
- The Sony Entities will reimburse any Class Members who can demonstrate that they suffered Actual Identity Theft, as defined in the Settlement Agreement. Class Members that prove Identity Theft can submit claims for reimbursement of out-of-pocket payments (not otherwise reimbursed) for expenses that are incurred as a direct result of the Actual Identity Theft, up to a maximum of $2,500.00 per claim.
- The Sony Entities are to pay for the costs associated with providing notice of the Settlement Agreement and the settlement approval hearing, all administration costs, as well as an agreed amount for plaintiffs’ lawyers’ fees and expenses ($265,000).
The parties sent a notice of certification and notice of motion for settlement approval to 3.5 million e-mail addresses. Fifteen percent of the e-mails were returned as undeliverable, 28 individuals opted out and nobody objected.
Justice Perell noted that the agreement was premised on the understanding that there has in fact been no improper use of personal information resulting in identity theft. He also said, “The Settlement Agreement reflects the state of the law, including possible damage awards, for breach of privacy/intrusion upon seclusion and loss/denial of service claims.”