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Connectiuct Business Litigation Blog
Commentary on lawsuits and legal issues impacting Connecticut businesses. Authored by experienced business litigation attorney, Kane Bennett of Aeton Law Partners, LLP.
I am pleased to announce that I have started a new law firm, Aeton Law Partners LLP. At my new firm, I will continue my litigation practice involving a wide array of business and technology matters. In this new venture, I have partnered with Attorney David Benoit. Dave brings a wide range of experience in transactions related to business, technology, and intellectual property. Together, we provide a broad base of experience and general counsel legal services for our existing and expanding client base. For more information on Aeton Law Partners, please contact me at 860 724 2163.
Data loss and security breach incidents have become common. However, lawsuits related to these incidents are not so common or successful. The problems plaintiffs have encountered include not only figuring out the proper cause of action to seek recovery (many states lack laws permitting private lawsuits for damages related to data loss) but also how to establish provable damages. For example, if a large retail store suffers a security breach of 2 hours leaving your personal identifying information exposed to thieves or hackers, have you really suffered any damages if the information is never used or compromised? What about so called "mitigation" damages or out of pocket expenses for future protection such as credit card insurance, fraud protection, or getting a new credit card and incurring an annual fee? The First Circuit Court of Appeals in Anderson v. Hannaford Bros. Co recently shed some light on the potential for recovery of mitigation damages in data breach litigation. In the Hannaford case, hackers stole up to 4.2 million credit and debit numbers, expiration dates, and security codes, but they did not steal customer names. Hannaford also had received notice that there were 1,800 cases of alleged misuse or fraud from the theft. In response, many financial institutions cancelled consumers’ cards and fees were incurred to reinstate new cards. Additionally, several consumers purchased identity theft protection for fear of future misuse. 26 separate lawsuits followed that were consolidated into one action in Maine. At the trial court level, nearly all of the plaintiffs’ claims (20 out
The Hartford has recently announced a new insurance product specially tailored to fit small business for data loss and security breach. It has been touted as more affordable for the smaller business owner. More and more small businesses are experiencing the devastating effects of a security breach incident or data loss. The statistics and stories are well reported from various sources. Experts agree that costs can exceed $200 per lost page of data. This can cripple a small business and leave it exposed to lawsuits and litigation. The front line defense to data loss and security breach risks should always be a good security and privacy plan. A technology attorney working in conjunction with your IT support can develop and help implement an effective security and privacy plan. The process of developing and implementing such plans often reveal the problem areas for any business. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, there is no 100% fail safe plan to secure data, whether the data is on the cloud or in a server in the office. There are also unavoidable risks associated with paper documents. Likewise, there is no plan to provide 100% protection to paper documents. That is why insurance is a good choice to cover the unavoidable risks. In addition to providing valuable financial protection in the event of a covered incident, the underwriting and application process for data loss insurance will often require best practices. This process alone will substantially reduce the likelihood of a significant data loss incident. Accordingly, small businesses should
Connecticut state court judges recently adopted new electronic discovery rules. The rules will become part of the Connecticut Practice Book for civil discovery and take effect on January 2, 2012. The judges present at the annual meeting unanimously adopted the new electronic discovery rules. You can read the new e-discovery rules here. I removed the sections not relevant to civil cases. The new rules or modifications are indicated by the underlined portions of the rule. Here is a quick hit list, and my brief commentary, of the new e-discovery rules in Connecticut state courts: Definitions of electronic and electronically stored information (ESI) added to the list of definitions. The new definitions are intentionally broad to adapt to new technology changes. Grounds to move for a protective order in discovery include the terms and conditions of discovery of ESI and the allocation of costs between the parties. This rule permits the court to take into account a series of factors in fashioning a protective order and cost shifting for discovery of ESI. Litigants should be disclosing ESI that is readily accessible and likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. This basically clarifies that reasonably accessible ESI is no different than other types of discovery. Whether a litigant needs to disclose ESI that is not reasonably accessible will depend on a variety of factors that the court may consider. Court can shift the costs of production for ESI. ESI added to the list of information a party can demand to inspect. Safe harbor from sanctions for not only ESI, but all
The impact of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) continues to grow in legal matters including litigation and trial. The court decisions cut across numerous areas from employment law and personal injury to privacy rights and defamation. Social media use has involved all the key players in lawsuits inclding judges, jurors, consultants, attorneys, reporters, and witnesses. Lawyers are using Facebook to screen jurors; jurors are using Facebook to post about the case they are sitting on; judges are checking Facebook to make sure jurors are not using it; jury consultants are following Twitter to give advice on trial strategy to attorneys during the trial; and reporters are giving first hand accounts of trials 140 characters at a time. Bottom line: Social media is everywhere and lawyers and litigants should pay attention. In keeping up to date on the topic, here are some new resources and articles on social media and litigation and trial: Vianei Lopez Robinson published an article for Texas Lawyer featured on Law Technology News that covers some recent decisions involving Facebook and the discovery of public and non-public information. The article also discusses some of the ethical implications for attorney’s "friending" litigation opponents. Dan Schwartz’s Connecticut employment law blog continues to cover social media for employers. He recently posted a new update for employers on the newest social network site, Google +. Corey Dennis, who previously submitted to this blog a great summary on the basics of Connecticut civil procedure, has just published a comprehensive law review article on social media and the various laws implicated
If you own shares of a corporation or an interest in a limited liability company, there are two basic sources in Connecticut concerning your rights to have access to company books and records. The first source may be found in any agreements that concern governance of the company such as the by-laws of a corporation or the operating of a limited liability company. The second source may be found in Connecticut’s General Statutes (limited liability company records; business corporation records). The statutes permit an owner to make written demand for access to company books and records and to bring a lawsuit in court if the demand is refused. Although the process seems straight foward enough, many times it is not. Management may deny the request and claim the request is overly broad, not sufficiently detailed under the statute, or sought for an improper purpose. In Connecticut, the results of "books and records" cases are not consistent and a proper demand for books and records in not always clear. If the demand is not proper, a court will not grant the request. As in many instances when matters are not clear in Connecticut, Delaware law is always a good resource. Here is an informative article by Jeff Mordock of the Delaware Business Court Insider (you have to subscribe for free to get the full article) that discusses some of the details in drafting a proper, or more likely to be enforced, books and records demand.
Connecticut Business Litigation is the most well-read litigation blog in the state of Connecticut. Founded by Attorney Kane Bennett in 2009, a pioneer in Attorney Marketing in the state of connecticut