Ashley Madison data breach lawsuit drops AWS and Godaddy from defendants list

The Ashley Madison lawsuit over data breach against 20 unnamed defendants (collectively the 20 John Roes), gave relief to two of them, namely, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and GoDaddy, by dropping the case against them. Ashley Madison is a Canada based online dating service provider that tends to promote adultery and infidelity.

Claims against both the defendants were dismissed as a result of a notice of dismissal filed by the plaintiffs. See John Doe 1 et al. v. GoDaddy.com LLC et al., Case 2:15-cv-01768-DJH (Filed Sept 11, 2015).[1]

The trouble started around July 2015 post hacking of all personal data of customers by a group called ‘the Impact Team’. This Impact Group occupied a large amount of private data of Ashley Madison website customers and subsequently threatened to disclose names of users and related information, if at all the parent company, Avid Life Media, did not shut down “Ashley Madison” and its sister site, "Established Men"            immediately. The data security breach of Ashley Madison, website facilitating extramarital affairs, resulted in the leak of personal information attached to more than 30 million accounts, including those of few American government officials, a handful of celebrities, a few clergymen and, apparently, some real profiles. Records show a keen rise in the number of members, causing Ashley Madison to gain popularity. Subsequent to this, the hackers leaked more than 25 gigabytes of company data, including the list of users and few other details, on August 18th & 20th respectively. This leak of personal data of users and their names has brought great turmoil, embarrassment and injury to the repute of the users to the extent of committing suicides.

There were subsequently several cases filed under the common issue of data breach, which took an intriguing turn when complaint from three anonymous plaintiffs from California, New Jersey and Maryland came together. See John Doe 1 et al. v. GoDaddy.com LLC et al., Case 2:15-cv-01768-DJH (Filed Sept 3, 2015).[2] These plaintiffs brought claims under the violation of California Penal Code §496 (receipt of stolen property), violation of California Business & Professions Code §17200 (unfair competition), negligent infliction of emotional distress, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, as well as an additional claim for “intentional infliction of emotional distress" upon members of the adultery-dating website for the handling and hosting of data originally stolen and released by hackers. This lawsuit is deemed to be treated as class action and seeks a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) (See John Doe 1 et al. v. GoDaddy.com LLC et al., Case 2:15-cv-01768-DJH [Filed Sept 11, 2015])[3], damages and monetary relief against these 20 John Roes’ websites. The TRO application further lays down the fact that both Amazon and GoDaddy "will comply with any order of this Court concerning the [defendants and their websites], including a TRO or early discovery order."

Besides, two Canadian law firms, namely Charney Lawyers and Sutts, Strosberg LLP have filed a £367 million (i.e., $578 million) joint lawsuit against Avid Dating Life and Avid Life Media, on behalf of a number of former users in the Ontario superior court of justice.

 

 


[1] See “Notice of Dismissal of Defendants Godaddy.com, LLC and Amazon Web Services, Inc. Without Prejudice” at: https://regmedia.co.uk/2015/09/14/ashley_madison_dismissal_of_defendants_godaddy_amazon.pdf

 

[3] See “Notice of Application and Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause Re: Preliminary Injunction” at: https://regmedia.co.uk/2015/09/14/ashley_madison_restraining_order_request.pdf

 



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