Class action lawsuit (kind of personal)

21 posts / 0 new
Last post
ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538
Class action lawsuit (kind of personal)

OTTAWA - A Newfoundland lawyer said he will launch a class action lawsuit on Thursday against the federal government which lost a portable external hard drive containing the personal information of 583,000 Canada Student Loan borrowers.

The privacy breach, possibly the largest in Canadian history, affected students involved with the student loan program from 2000-2006. The external hard drive went missing on Nov. 5 from a Quebec office.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley announced the breach on Friday and said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were investigating.

Lawyer Bob Buckingham told Reuters on Wednesday he would be filing with the Federal Court on Thursday.

?We are receiving a lot of inquiries and are deep in review of the situation in the hopes of preparing the best case on your behalf,? Buckingham said on his law firm?s Facebook page in a message to people affected.

Data on the hard drive includes student names, Social Insurance Numbers, dates of birth, contact information and their loan balances, but no banking or medical information.

The Canada Student Loans Program said there was no evidence at this time that any of the information had been accessed or used for fraudulent purposes, but the incident was being taken very seriously.

Finley said last week that she had ordered new stricter protocols, including no longer permitting portable hard drives.

Buckingham did not put a price on the lawsuit.
Class action over lost student loan data - Canada - Canoe.ca

So, I am one of the people who's information has been lost (yea me!). My husband thinks this class action lawsuit is basically a money grab by the lawyer that wont get anywhere and even if it does, it would be split so many different ways, it wouldnt amount to much anyways. I really dont know.

So my question is, would you join the suit? Why or why not. I only have a vague idea of how these things work, so any information would be great.

For the record, what I would love for them to do is offer me some sort of identity theft insurance for the next ten years or something. I dont want any money out of it because at this point all it is, is a big inconvenience, but who knows what could happen with that info in the future.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

Having worked for the feds I don't think you will get much from a class action suit, if we were in the States you would but here there are all types of laws preventing large payouts especially for suing the government. I am guessing that the government will offer some kind of compensation. In the mean time I would watch for identity theft. We got lucky and DH's loans did not start until 2009.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

Yes I would join. IME you just get added to a pool and everyone ends up within something in the end, albeit sometimes minimal.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

The lawyer(s) could (and likely are) working on a contingency fee basis, so they could take a big chunk of the award, if any, before any of the plaintiffs get paid. The range could be anywhere from 20% to %50, depending on how far the case goes. So yeah, depending on the number of plaintiffs the award could be minimal. Doesn't hurt to talk to the lawyer though, if you're interested in finding out what the claim might be. Also, class actions can drag on for years. We have a huge one at work, worth hundreds of millions, and it's just in the discovery stage now, after years of back and forth in the court.

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

My info was there too. No point in joining the class action I don't think.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

Is there a disadvantage to joining the lawsuit though? Like if the gov't was to turn around and offer some sort of compensation independent of the lawsuit, would those who had joined have to share that with the lawyer?

The suit totally seems like a money grab to me, and although I like to think I am not like that, there is a little voice in my head telling me how much it will suck if everyone else gets a big settlement and I get nothing. So someone tell me the disadvantages to this scenario!

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

Is there a disadvantage to joining the lawsuit though? Like if the gov't was to turn around and offer some sort of compensation independent of the lawsuit, would those who had joined have to share that with the lawyer?

The suit totally seems like a money grab to me, and although I like to think I am not like that, there is a little voice in my head telling me how much it will suck if everyone else gets a big settlement and I get nothing. So someone tell me the disadvantages to this scenario!

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

Besides the fact that more current personal information has to be released in order to join? There is no money to be made except for the lawyers.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

What blather said. No money to be made in a class action like this one. Wouldn't bother, personally They lost your info once, why give them more?

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

That is a really good point, thanks! I think I will be staying out of this one.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"blather" wrote:

Besides the fact that more current personal information has to be released in order to join? There is no money to be made except for the lawyers.

I've been a part of a few (usually stores doing something technically wrong - like printing the last 5 digits of my lowes account on the receipt instead of 4) and joining the suit involved one of the following:

1. Do nothing (have to opt out instead of opt in)
2. Go to the website and opt in using my name and the info on the card
3. mail back the card.

I can't remember ever providing them with more info than they already had.

They can drag on forever though....we joined one in 2005 when a company filed bankruptcy. Last update was in Aug. 2012 that checks were supposed to be mailed "during the last quarter of 2012."

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I've been part of a few, I had to fill out fairly detailed info for an AMEX foreign travel one, ditto for a BRU one. Not really worth the pittance I got, less than $100 in both cases

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

To answer your other question. If a settlement is offered and you are part of the class action you will not receive the settlement - at least in Canada, other places may be different.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

"mom2robbie" wrote:

To answer your other question. If a settlement is offered and you are part of the class action you will not receive the settlement - at least in Canada, other places may be different.

OOO....thats really good to know, thanks! I am hoping that if people do start getting hit with identity theft, they will offer some sort of insurance or help with that. That is about the only thing I am worried about happening, and the only instance that I feel I really would 'deserve' anything from them. I think I am definitely on the NO side of this now.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

They should be offering you some extra credit monitoring services for free if it's like what happened to the VA here. They lost a laptop with my social and I got a letter and verified with the VA that it was true and they emailed me every time something weird happened with my credit.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"mom2robbie" wrote:

To answer your other question. If a settlement is offered and you are part of the class action you will not receive the settlement - at least in Canada, other places may be different.

? Can you please clarify? Even if she wasn't part of the class action during the litigation phase she could still get some of the settlement IF she fits into the class description and if she joins the settlement prior to the end of the settlement timeframe.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I'm not sure how it works in Canada, but here in the U.S. there are usually two steps to being part of a class action lawsuit. One is joining, or not opting out of, the "class" that is filing the suit. The second part is joining, or not opting out of, the court award or settlement once it is reached. You can join the class action but decline being part of the award or settlement phase if you feel that your own damages are serious enough to warrant a separate case. I've never gotten more than $50, once only $8, but sometimes money is the only way to send a message to a corporation that what they did was wrong, kwim?

I'm not fond of class actions against the government unless it's crystal clear that they aren't making any attempt to do the right thing. The right thing in this case would be, as others have said, to offer free credit monitoring for at least two years and document the changes that will prevent this from happening again. If the government does that, then I don't see the need for a class action & wouldn't go along with it.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"ClairesMommy" wrote:

? Can you please clarify? Even if she wasn't part of the class action during the litigation phase she could still get some of the settlement IF she fits into the class description and if she joins the settlement prior to the end of the settlement timeframe.

If you are not part of the class action and the government decides to offer compensation you would get the compensation, if you ARE part of the class action you would not be entitled to the compensation but would have to wait for things to go through the courts to see if you would get any money. And you are only eligible for either the compensation offered OR the class action but not both. We went through this with my DH and the Alberta government and it is the same federally.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

Don't know if you have seen this yet.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2013/01/25/free credit checks after student loans data loss

The Canadian government will pay for six years of credit monitoring for the 583,000 people whose personal data was lost on a portable hard drive in November....

raingirl28's picture
Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 1347

I know at least 10 people who are affected so far. Someone new mentions it on FB almost daily.

Apparently letters were sent to the affected individuals, but since my loans are paid, they had my old address from when I last held a loan. I have to call the number to see if I was affected just to be sure.

If I'm affected I won't join one of the lawsuits (there are at least 4 out there now) as they likely won't go anywhere. I will sign up for the free credit protection though. I already have identity theft coverage on my home owners policy, but this will be a nice add-on for the next 6 years as well.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

"mom2robbie" wrote:

Don't know if you have seen this yet.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2013/01/25/free credit checks after student loans data loss

Yea! I was hoping they would do something like this Smile