The U.S. Court Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has ruled that statutory damages under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) are not available in a case where the plaintiff did not incur any actual damages.
The case, Vista Marketing LLC v. Burkett, originated from an extremely contentious divorce proceeding.
How much does the question of harm matter in cybersecurity law? The answer is: It depends on who is bringing the claim.
Businesses confronting data breaches can face litigation from private consumers as well as from governmental entities. Managing litigation risk varies in these contexts because of the limitations of bringing private rights of action. One such limitation is the requirement of proving actual harm in private actions. As explained further below, the bar for enforcement is lower when federal regulators bring an action against an entity. Businesses must be mindful that the lack of actual harm may not be an avenue to dismiss these claims. Employing best practices is still paramount in helping businesses mitigate the risks that come from private party suits and government enforcement actions.
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