Dechert and Neil Gerrard Discuss Cybersecurity Litigation

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02-12-2021

Neil Gerrard, a partner at Dechert LLP, and I recently had the privilege of discussing cybersecurity litigation. We had an engaging discussion about what we see as the most pressing challenges in this area of law and how they may be addressed through legislative reform. With cyber threats on the rise, it’s more important than ever to stay informed of these issues and make sure you’re up-to-date on recent developments. Neil Gerrard, a partner at Dechert LLP, started by describing the recent developments in cybersecurity litigation with two landmark cases: 

 

Wyndham Worldwide vs. LabMD and Anthem vs. Premera Blue Cross. In each case, Mr. Gerrard briefly outlined the facts of each case before diving into what the case means for the future of cybersecurity litigation. In Wyndham Worldwide vs. LabMD, a data breach occurred that exposed over 600,000 credit card numbers and other personal information to cybercriminals. In April 2015, as Neil Gerrard explains, the Wyndham hotel group filed suit against LabMD for failing to protect its customers’ information from being stolen. 

 

However, this particular case was dropped after the two parties reached an agreement after litigation. In Anthem vs. Premera Blue Cross hackers stole 80 million records that included personal information such as names, addresses, and stolen social security numbers. As Neil Gerrard points out, the insurer, Anthem, filed suit against its cybersecurity partner, claiming it had failed to secure the company’s infrastructure from cybercriminals when it was contracted to do so. 

Around some of the details, the insurer also claimed that the cybersecurity partner should be held liable for negligence and breach of contract after the company failed to secure Anthem’s information from cybercriminals. Neil Gerrard argued that while companies can face lawsuits when it comes to cybersecurity, Congress should consider passing legislation to avoid further confusion and bureaucracy in this field. He also stated that we should be looking at international laws and treaties to seek guidance for any forthcoming legislation.

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