Suits Filed Against Ashley Madison Over Data Breach

Ashley Madison Blog Post

Reportedly, a class action lawsuit has now been filed in California by a “John Doe” plaintiff.  A summary of the suit from Forbes:

Doe is filing on behalf of all U.S. residents who signed up for the website, alleging that Ashley Madison did not take “necessary and reasonable precautions” regarding security. Among the plaintiff’s accusations, the class action complaint lists negligence and inflicting emotional distress.

One of the alleged problems is that some of the individuals whose data ended up being published allegedly paid Ashley Madison to remove their data prior to the breach:

Ashley Madison supposedly offered a $19 “scrub” option that promised to delete users profiles so they would be untraceable. The suit alleges that Avid Life Media simply collected the money and neglected to scrub the profiles. Doe also accuses the company of not informing users of the breach in a timely manner and neglecting to inform them of its extent.

The John Doe suit is the second lawsuit filed in the days following the data breach.  Two Canadian law firms apparently filed a class action suit against the cheating website seeking $578 million:

The plaintiff is Eliot Shore, who said he briefly joined Ashley Madison following the death of his wife to breast cancer. Shore said his membership did not result in any meetings with members of the site and that he never cheated on his wife.

The suit joins a $5 million class-action lawsuit filed in Missouri in July. The anonymous female plaintiff in that case claimed she’d paid $19 to Ashley Madison to run a “paid-delete” of her personal information, which was unsuccessful.

Ashley Madison is no stranger to lawsuits based on novel legal theories.  In 2013, Ashley Madison was sued for “alienation of affections,” an antiquated cause of action which is only viable in a handful of states, including Mississippi and North Carolina.  The plaintiff in the alienation of affections lawsuit alleged that the website caused the breakup of his marriage. The disposition of the case and/or whether it is still pending is unclear.

A final interesting tidbit, Ashley Madison is apparently owned by a Canadian lawyer named Noel Biderman.

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