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Salesforce Data Breach Suit Cites California Privacy Law

Feb. 4, 2020, 9:18 PM

Salesforce.com Inc. and a children’s clothing company face data-breach allegations in a federal court lawsuit that is among the first to cite California’s landmark privacy law since it took effect Jan. 1.

Salesforce and Hanna Andersson failed to protect user data, safeguard platforms or provide cybersecurity warnings, alleges the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The actions violated state laws including the California Consumer Privacy Act, plaintiff Bernadette Barnes claims.

Companies are closely watching lawsuits that mention the California law because the statute includes a private right of action that makes it easier for consumers to seek damages than under typical state consumer-protection laws.

While Barnes’ complaint, filed Monday, stops short of seeking fines, she reserves the right to amend it later for a potential California class “to seek damages and relief” under the California law’s data-breach provisions. Barnes also brought claims under the California Unfair Competition Law.

Barnes brought her suit after high-end children’s apparel company Hanna Andersson announced Jan. 15 that hackers had scraped customer names, payment card numbers, and other personal information.

The hacked data, which was found for sale on the dark web, was hosted by Salesforce on its e-commerce platform, the complaint alleges. The platform was infected with malware that led to the data breach, the complaint claims.

Barnes asked the court to weigh in on whether Hanna Andersson and Salesforce violated the CCPA.

California residents can seek up to $750 per consumer, per incident under the state law after a breach for weak data-security protections. That could mean millions of dollars in damages for large data collectors.

Causes of Action: Violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and negligence.

Relief: Declaratory judgment; class certification; free credit monitoring; statutory damages; punitive damages; restitution; disgorgement; and attorneys fees and costs.

Response: Representative for Hanna Andersson didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. A Salesforce spokesperson declined to comment.

Attorneys: Morgan & Morgan and Clayeo C. Arnold represented Barnes. Attorneys for the Hanna Andersson and Salesforce couldn’t immediately be identified.

The case is Barnes v. Hanna Andersson, LLC, N.D. Cal., No. 20-cv-00812, complaint filed 2/3/20

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at dstoller@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Hughes at jhughes@bloomberglaw.com; Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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