AvMed data breach case opens door for ID theft claims

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Ben Thomassen, an associate with Edelson McGuire, the Chicago law firm representing the plaintiffs, said that in addition to winning the ID theft argument, the court also sided, in an unprecedented fashion, with the claimants' allegations of "unjust enrichment." The court held that the premiums AvMed members pay to the company includes an expectation for the protection of personal information.

"When a company doesn't live up to the obligation that it's supposed to...that person [victimized by a breach] has a cause of action for that money he paid toward the protection of his personal information," Thomassen told SCMagazine.com.

Now, the case again will return to the lower court, so AvMed can answer the allegations. The appeals court did dismiss the negligence and breach of contract claims.

An AvMed spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

David Navetta, founding partner of InfoLawGroup, said in a blog post that he predicts the 11th Circuit will see more breach cases as a result.

"Whether plaintiffs making such allegations can ultimately prove their claims is a question for another day," he wrote. "Even so, this decision may give some plaintiffs litigation leverage to move their cases toward a jury trial and possibly force settlement."

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