Background of OPM Data Breach Cases
It has been a few years now, and many federal employees and retirees may have put the data breaches involving the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) out of their recent memories.
Here are a couple of reminders:
- OPM said in 2015 that the personal data of 21.5 million individuals were compromised in the second of two data breaches that hit the agency’s servers;
- This is in addition to the 4.2 million current and former federal employees that OPM said were impacted by the breaches and Social Security Numbers were affected;
- Additional information was also compromised including background investigation records of current, former, and prospective Federal employees and contractors.
- The White House confirmed China was to blame for data breaches exposing the personal data of over 20 million current, former, and potential federal employees.
Obviously, there could be many potential claims filed in any settlement of these data breaches. For those who are seeking more information on the data breaches, here is a compilation of articles that may be useful.
About the Class Action Settlement for the OPM Data Breach
According to the class action website, “You may be eligible to receive a payment from a proposed $63,000,000 class action settlement” if you were impacted by a data breach from OPM or its contractor.
This may be the case if:
- If you were subject to the data breaches of OPM and its contractor (Peraton Risk Decision Inc.) and,
- You experienced an out-of-pocket loss after the breaches.
The lawsuit is about the data breaches of OPM in 2014 and 2015 and breaches of its security contractor in 2013 and 2014. According to the class action website, the lawsuit concerns a data breach “that allegedly compromised the personal information of then-current and former federal government employees and contractors, as well as certain applicants for federal employment.”
OPM and Peraton Risk Decision Inc. and a contractor, previously known as KeyPoint Government Solutions, Inc., have denied they have any liability but have agreed to settle the lawsuit.
Approval of OPM Data Breach Settlement is Preliminary
The Court has not given its final approval to the Settlement Agreement. If it does, and if any appeals are resolved in favor of the Settlement, money will be distributed to those who have submitted a timely, valid claim form and otherwise qualify for payment. The court date to review the settlement agreement is currently scheduled for October 14, 2022.
How to Qualify for a Payment and Make a Claim
To be eligible to make a claim in this lawsuit:
Your personal information must have been compromised in the data breaches, and you must also have suffered an out-of-pocket expense or lost compensable time:
- To purchase a credit monitoring product, credit or identity theft protection product, or other product or service designed to identify or remediate the data breaches;
- To access, freeze or unfreeze a credit report with a credit reporting agency; or
- As a result of an identity theft incident or to mitigate an identity theft incident.
This is the claim form in the data breach litigation settlement and here is the preliminary approval memorandum in the multitude of cases filed regarding this issue. The instructions and explanation of the documentation for filing a claim are available at the OPM settlement claim website.
Making an assertion that a person lost time or money is unlikely to result in payment. Documents will have to show:
- The amount of loss that you suffered, and
- The loss is reasonably attributable to the data breaches in the case,
- Personal statements or declarations are not reasonable documentation but may be used to provide clarification, context, or support for other documentation submitted in support of a claim.
- Those filing a claim upload or enclose documents that show what happened, what actions you took that caused the compensable lost time, and the value of that time.
- Documentation may include credit card or bank statements, emails, invoices, receipts, or telephone records, including photographs.
A claim can be filed online or by mail and must be submitted online or postmarked no later than December 23, 2022.
Amount of Settlement Claims
Those who meet the eligibility requirements will receive $700 or the actual amount of the claim—whichever is greater—up to a maximum of $10,000. This is the case unless the total value of all valid claims, plus any incentive awards to qualified plaintiffs, exceeds the amount of money available in the fund.