On March 5, 2013 the California District Court1
dismissed a proposed class action against LinkedIn arising from
hackers infiltrating LinkedIn’s computer system.
In June 2012 hackers infiltrated LinkedIn's computer system
and posted approximately 6.5 million user passwords on the
Internet. Following the breach, LinkedIn increased the security of
its password encryption method from a "hashed" format, in
which the passwords were converted into an unreadable encrypted
format, by adding the additional step of "salting", in
which random values were added to the passwords before they were
"hashed". A class action was filed in November 2012 on
behalf of LinkedIn's Premium Account holders, on the grounds
that they had paid a fee for LinkedIn services which included a
promise by LinkedIn that their information would be secured in
accordance with industry standard protocols and technology. The
Plaintiffs based their claim in contract and in negligence.
LinkedIn filed a preliminary motion to dismiss the class action on
the grounds that the Complaint filed by the Plaintiffs did not
allege sufficient injury to establish the Plaintiffs' standing
to advance the claim in U.S. Federal Court. The Court granted
LinkedIn’s motion and identified a number of deficiencies in
the proposed class action.
First, the Plaintiffs did not allege in the Complaint that they
actually paid for the security services they alleged were not
Premium Account holders was the same as for the non-paying basic
membership. The Plaintiffs had not demonstrated that the alleged
promise of a particular level of security was part of the contract
and therefore could not establish a breach of contract. As the
Plaintiffs based their claim in negligence on an alleged duty of
care arising from the contractual duty to provide a certain level
of security, the claim of negligence also failed.
Second, the Plaintiffs did not allege that they actually read
respect to the level of security provided and therefore could not
have relied on the alleged misrepresentation in contracting with
Finally, the Plaintiffs' Complaint did not included
sufficient facts to establish that they suffered damages resulting
from the system breach. The Plaintiffs alleged that they did not
receive the security they contracted for and therefore suffered
economic loss as a result of the system breach. However, the
alleged economic loss occurred prior to the system breach and
therefore could not be considered “resulting damage”
from the breach. The Plaintiffs did not allege that they had
suffered any actual harm as a result of the system breach, for
example, theft of their personally identifiable information, nor
did they allege that they were exposed to an increased risk of
future harm in the form of identity theft or theft of personally
identifiable information. Consequently, the Complaint did not
allege the necessary element of resulting damage from the system
breach and did not meet the threshold to maintain an action in U.S.
The dismissal of the Plaintiffs’ Complaint was on terms
allowing the Plaintiffs to amend the complaint and, if possible,
correct some or all of the deficiencies such that the Complaint
could proceed in U.S. Federal Court.
1. In Re LinkedIn User Privacy Litigation, Case
No.: 5: 12-CV-03088 EJD, U.S. District Court, Northern District of
California,(San Jose), March 5, 2013.
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In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
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