Siskinds LLP and JSS Barristers commenced a proposed class action against Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (“CIBC”) and a proposed class action against Bank of Montreal (“BMO”). The proceedings, filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, arise from the recently disclosed cybersecurity breaches involving CIBC’s direct banking division, Simplii Financial, and BMO. According to the defendants, the data breaches resulted in the theft of sensitive personal information of up to 40,000 clients of Simplii Financial and up to 50,000 clients of BMO.
The class actions, brought on behalf of the affected clients of Simplii Financial and BMO, allege that each bank failed to establish robust security measures reasonably required of it to protect its clients’ personal information. The lawsuits seek general, compensatory, consequential and punitive damages on behalf of the affected Simplii Financial and BMO clients.
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August 23, 2018: The law firms of Siskinds LLP, Sotos LLP and JSS Barristers have formed a national consortium to litigate the proposed class actions brought against BMO and CIBC’s Simplii on behalf of a proposed national class of the banks’ affected clients. The class proceedings will be litigated in Ottawa, and the certification motions in the Ottawa actions have been scheduled for October 2019. Accordingly, by Orders of the Honourable Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice at Toronto, the actions initially commenced at Toronto have been stayed such that the proceedings will be pursued in Ottawa. Updates regarding the Ottawa actions will be provided as they become available.
What is a class action?
A class action is a lawsuit that is brought by one or more persons on behalf of a larger group of people whose claims share common legal and/or factual issues. Class actions provide a cost-effective way for groups of people with common interests to pursue a legal claim.
What does “certification” (known as "authorization" in Quebec) mean?
Certification is the motion where the court determines whether the action can properly be pursued as a class action. The court will consider factors such as whether the claims of the class members raise common legal and/or factual issues and whether a class action is the preferable method of pursuing the claims (as opposed to other methods, such as individual actions).
Do I have to pay anything to participate in the class action?
Class action lawyers are usually paid on a contingency basis. This means that class counsel are only paid if successful. Class counsel are paid a percentage of any settlement or court award. Class counsel fees are subject to court approval.
Can I join the class action?
There are no steps required to “join” the class action. Assuming you fall within the scope of the class definition, you are automatically included in the class action unless you “opt-out” (exclude yourself from the class action).
Can I exclude myself from the class action?
Yes. After the class action is certified, you will be given an opportunity to opt-out (exclude yourself from the class action). If you opt-out, you will not be able to participate in any settlement or court award achieved in the class action, but you will be able to pursue your claim on an individual basis. Generally speaking, you would only want to opt-out of a class action if you intend to bring individual litigation. In most circumstances, it is more cost effective to participate in a class action because the legal costs are spread over a large number of people, making it more economic for any individual class member to obtain relief.