A U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania granted three claims and denied seven against Coca-Cola and several bottling companies under its brand to pave the way for a class action lawsuit stemming from a 2014 breach.
The plaintiff, Shane K. Enslin, said his identity was stolen as the result of the theft of 55 unencrypted laptops that allegedly contained employee personal identifiable information (PII), according to court documents, and filed a suit against Coke. The beverage company and its bottlers filed a motion to dismiss Enslin's claims, noting that he had "not properly alleged an actual case or controversy, depriving this court of subject matter jurisdiction to hear his claim." The defendants also said Enslin failed "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted."
But the court ruled that Enslin "has standing to advance his claims" of expressed and implied breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
Donald Haviland, the attorney that represents Enslin, told SCMagazine.com the legal team's next step is to find out exactly how the identity theft occurred and to assess who was affected and how. The attorney said he doesn't believe the data on the stolen laptops had been ever been secure.
Thomas Rogers was arrested in June 2014 for allegedly stealing the computers and faces felony and misdemeanor charges, according to the court documents.
The suit is an effort to "make corporate America get serious about ID protection," said Haviland, who added that "too many times the courts have said there is no value in people's credit information."
He also took issue with the short-term data protection plans typically offered by corporation to customers affected by breaches, saying they aren't enough and could exploit people who want to extend their coverage by charging outrageous rates.