North West based data breach and cybersecurity specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors is the first in the UK to serve a representative data breach claim in the High Court. The action could see Equifax ordered to pay up to £100 million in compensation to its estimated 15 million UK customers affected by its 2017 data breach.
The action follows the Court of Appeal’s decision on the Lloyd v Google case on 2nd October which ruled that a law firm could bring a claim for compensation for just one affected individual following a data breach and be awarded compensation for the entire affected population.
Kingsley Hayes, managing director at data breach and cybersecurity specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors, said: “We are delighted to be the first firm to issue proceedings following the Court of Appeal’s recent ground-breaking ruling which allows us to pursue the total amount of compensation due to Equifax’s 15 million affected UK customers.
“We estimate the total value of the claim to be £100 million which, if won, Hayes Connor would distribute to all affected individuals. Equifax was found by the ICO to have failed in its data protection obligations on multiple levels including failing to comply with how customers’ personal information can be processed and stored and how that private data should be secured.
“Following hackers successfully accessing its systems in America to steal the personal information of a reported 143 million individuals, the personal data of its UK customers was also exposed including email addresses, usernames, passwords, security questions, phone numbers and credit card details.
“This is the first time that a data breach claim has been issued in the UK on behalf of all affected parties. The Court of Appeal ruling has made it easier for all data breach victims to be fairly compensated.”
Equifax suffered significant financial losses following the data breach which was announced in March 2017 with US lawsuits resulting in the credit report giant fined $290 million and ordered to pay a further $1.4 billion to compensate affected American customers.
The ICO found that Equifax had failed on multiple counts in how it stored, processed and protected its UK customer’s personal information imposing a minimum £500k fine in September 2018 as the breach occurred pre GDPR.
Hayes Connor has instructed Louis Browne QC and Ian Whitehurst of Exchange Square Chambers in Liverpool in the landmark action.
Hayes Connor Solicitors was recently appointed as data protection supplier to the Communication Workers Union and is currently acting for thousands of claimants with data breach action against Ticketmaster, Equifax, Marriott International, TeamSport, Dixons Carphone and the Police Federation of England and Wales.