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Data Breach: No Duty, No Harm, No Foul - Illinois Court of Appeals Issues Ruling on Chicago Public Schools Data Breach

2/11/2011


In its recent decision in Cooney v. Chicago Public Schools, 2010 WL 5481520 (Ill. App. Ct. Dec. 30, 2010), the Illinois Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court dismissing all claims against the Chicago Public Schools (“CPS”), the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (“Board”) and All Printing & Graphics, Inc. (“All Printing”) related to the disclosure of the personal information of approximately 1,750 former CPS employees. The status of the recipients as employees of CPS proved a determining factor in the court’s decision that the Board had no duty to the individuals whose personal information was disclosed.

What happened:

All Printing was retained by the Board of Education of the City of Chicago to print, package and mail a “Chicago Public Schools-COBRA Open Enrollment List” to more than 1,750 former CPS employees. The mailing, sent in November 2006, informed the former employees that as COBRA participants, they could change their insurance benefit plans. The list sent to each former employee contained the names of all 1,750 former employees, along with their addresses, Social Security numbers, marital status, medical and dental insurers, and health insurance plan information. Some of the former employees filed individual and class action lawsuits, and the cases were later consolidated. Read more ...