The Sony Pictures hack left thousands of employees vulnerable and scared, but when the dust settles on their class action lawsuit, the cash doled may not amount to much.
Especially after the lawyers are paid.
In a settlement proposed by the plaintiffs, Sony will pay between $5.5m and $8m to end the suit, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The “maximum base payment” against potential identity theft will be $1,050 cash for each class member (all current and former Sony employees whose information was exposed in the hack) out of a $2m cash fund. Anyone who has actually had their identity stolen as a result of the hack will be eligible for a $10,000 maximum.
Counsel for the plaintiffs will receive at least $3.49m.
The hack is one of the largest in corporate history and led directly to the departure of Sony Pictures chairman Amy Pascal after she was criticized over the content of her emails. But Pascal’s story was only one of dozens that resulted from the hack. Revelations that Jennifer Lawrence was paid a fraction what her male costars earned for her Oscar-nominated work in American Hustle also came to light.
If so many people apply for relief that the $2m is exhausted, their claims will be diminished to squeeze them all in; if few enough apply that some of the $2m is left over, the claims will be increased to a new cap of $2,000. The fund of cash available to people whose personal information has been provably used to defraud them isn’t capped in the same way, and could increase the total payout to exposed Sony workers to $4.5m.
Plaintiffs in two other cases pending in California against Sony will have to agree to dismissal for the deal to go through. In the settlement, Sony will not have to admit that it could have done anything further to secure its employees’ data.
The company will also provide two years of credit protection services through AllClearID, its vendor of choice for the last hack before the big, allegedly state-sponsored breach of its HR documents and executive emails, which affected customers of the PlayStation Network.
This article was written by Sam Thielman in New York, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 20th October 2015 17.38 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010