If you or your kids have a PlayStation, it's likely you received an e-mail a few weeks ago from Sony Online Entertainment telling you that your personal information might have been stolen.
In response, approximately 25 lawsuits have already been filed against Sony, according to Westlaw. The number will likely only grow as more plaintiffs - and attorneys - step up to take a bite out of the Sony apple.
Sony has stated that the hackers might have made it out with 12.3 million credit card numbers, reports the Chicago Tribune. Many users stored their credit card information in the Sony database to allow for quick purchases in the online Sony PlayStation Store, where users can download games, movies, music and more.
The increasing risk of security breaches in recent years has seen law firms develop and allocate more resources to pursuing these types of litigation, according to the Chicago Tribune. In the past year alone there have been 190 data breaches according to the Open Security Foundation.
However, these lawsuits do not tend to bring in the big bucks compared to other class action litigation, like securities fraud. Jay Edelson, partner of Edelson McGuire in Chicago, says that in general the attorney's fees from these types of cases max out at around $7-8 million. Securities fraud cases tend to rake in 9-figures.
And, not all attorneys will be able to take a bite out of the Sony cheddar. With so many lawsuits filed, many of them have ended up in the same federal jurisdiction. Motions have been filed by some law firms to consolidate the actions, whereby the judge will decide which attorneys will represent the plaintiffs and take home the fees, reports the Chicago Tribune.
If you have been affected by this breach, chances are you will be hearing about it one way or another.
In class action cases, all members of the class whose rights or remedies will be affected by a court decision on the matter will need to be reasonably notified. This, however, does not mean that the attorney pursuing the case needs to track down every single person - they may mail postcards, send e-mails, run a television ad, or a radio ad, to inform as many people as possible.
While the multitude of lawsuits get underway, Sony Online Entertainment has already offered free credit monitoring to affected users, reports the Chicago Tribune.
- Sony U.S. PlayStation Blog Inaccessible in Some Areas (Bloomberg)
- PlayStation Network Breach One of Largest Ever? (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Sony Sued Over PlayStation Network Hack (FindLaw's Injured)
- Class Action Cases (FindLaw)