A U.S. judge rejected Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc’s bid to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed by nine former employees who claimed their personal data was stolen in a 2014 hacking tied to the studio’s release of a comedy set in North Korea, “The Interview.”
U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner said the plaintiffs could pursue claims that the Sony Corp unit was negligent and violated a California confidentiality law by spurning security measures to stop the theft of employees’ salary and health data, Social Security numbers and other sensitive information. Judge Klaussner held that Sony created a “special relationship” with its employees by requiring them to provide personal information to be eligible for salaries and benefits. He said this justified letting the plaintiffs seek to hold Sony liable for its “business decision” not to bolster security after prior breaches, such as a 2011 infiltration of the PlayStation video game network.
The former workers said Sony’s negligence caused them economic harm by forcing them to beef up credit monitoring to address their greater risk of identity theft. They also said the data breach, for which U.S. officials blamed North Korean hackers, was an “epic nightmare” for them and thousands of former colleagues.
The case is Corona et al v. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 14-09600.