10 May

Judge says No to $60M Class Action in Casino Rama Hack

The hacking of Casino Rama will not result in a $60 million class action lawsuit.

The Hacking of Casino Rama will Not result in a $60M Class Action Lawsuit

For two decades, Casino Rama topped the hot list of Ontario gambling entertainment destinations. Opened in the summer of 1996 on the reserves of the Chippewa of Rama First Nation, it is jointly owned by the tribe and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp (OLG), with day to day operations managed by one of Canada’s largest gaming groups, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment. Suffice it to say, the casino is brimming with advantages – no pun intended.

Those first two decades went swimmingly well for the casino, right up until November of 2016, when it was reveals that a vicious cyber attack had befallen the property’s computer systems. The casino’s database, containing the personal information of some 200,000 employees and player’s club card members, was compromised. The hacker, failing to acquire a ransom, followed through on a threat to publish the stolen information to the web.

As is often the case in such instances where a multitude of victims are involved, many of those potentially impacted by the Casino Rama hack immediately retained a comprehensive legal team to represent them in a class action lawsuit. Now, after more than two years, it’s finally come to an anti-climactic ending.

Hacking of Casino Rama Won’t Bring Class Action

On Tuesday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba denied certification of the proposed class action lawsuit against Casino Rama. The judge found that, due to numerous factors, the case does not qualify under the terms of class action, therefore cannot be tried as such.

Casino Rama Hacker

Justice Belobaba determined that a class action is not relevant in the dispute because no provable losses have been named, the hacker that caused the issue is not named as a defendant in the case, and the depth of victimization is far from equal between the plaintiffs.

“The fact that there are no provable losses and that the primary culprit, the hacker, is not sued as a defendant makes for a very convoluted class action,” states Justice Belobaba in this week’s ruling. By his befitting metaphorical assessment, the lawsuit simply doesn’t fit the allegations.

Class counsel find themselves trying to force square (breach of privacy) pegs into round (tort and contract) holes.”

The judge says the breach of contract involve din the Casino Rama hack is not the fault of Casino Rama, but rather the hacker who published the information. The operation’s failure to prevent the hacker from publishing that information is not sufficient in establishing the alleged torts. Therefore naming Casino Rama as the defendant is not an appropriate breach of contract claim.

And Then the Claim Really Fell Apart…

Where Justice Belobaba found the proposal for class action status to “collapse in its entirety” was within the scope of information retrieved by the hacker, in regards to individual plaintiffs. The filing states that each plaintiff’s private and confidential information was compromised. However, in many cases, the information was neither private nor confidential, amounting to nothing more than an email address.

The judge went so far as to clarify that, had he found enough evidence and cause to certify the class action, he would have ultimately forced multiple divisions between the plaintiffs, based on the type of information stolen from each, and whether it was actually published. While the plaintiffs’ attorney filed a class action encompassing upwards of 200,000 people, those names include anyone who received notification from Casino Rama that their systems were compromised. In reality, only 10,900 people were actually effected by the hacker’s actions.

As for Casino Rama’s part in the incident, the judge could not fault the operation for its rapid response. When the hacking was discovered, managers immediately notified the OLG and sent out a mass, blanket email to everyone in their database that could possibly have been impacted by the cyber attack (the approximate 200,000 named in the lawsuit). All were unambiguously notified of the situation and proactively advised on how to secure their private information and accounts.

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