Families of victims in ICBC privacy breach can now join class action lawsuit

A former ICBC employee had sold 78 customers’ information to a criminal organization

People living with those whose personal information was accessed by a former ICBC employee can now join in the class action lawsuit, a BC Court of Appeal judge has ruled.

The appeals court broadened the scope of a class-action lawsuit against ICBC that involves violation of the privacy of 78 customers whose information was sold by an employee to a criminal organization.

Justice Elizabeth Bennett rendered her decision in the case of Ufuk Ari versus ICBC on May 28, with Justices Anne MacKenzie and Gail Dickson concurring.

Ari is the representative plaintiff in a class action lawsuit brought against ICBC for violation of privacy resulting from an ICBC employee accessing the information of 78 ICBC customers and provided it to a criminal organization. The corporation, Bennett noted, retains an enormous collection of personal and private information about British Columbians.

The court heard a former ICBC employee, Candy Elaine Rheaume, “for no business purpose” accessed the personal information – names, addresses, drivers license numbers, vehicle descriptions and identification numbers, licence plate numbers and claim histories – and gave this to an acquaintance in the drug trade, for $25 per name. Rheaume pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining a computer service and received a suspended sentence and nine months’ probation.

Bennett noted the illegally obtained information was used to target 13 of the plaintiffs for vandalism, arson and shootings between April 2011 and January 2012.

“Two people have been found criminally responsible for their involvement in the attacks,” she noted. “The attackers thought they were targeting police officers solely because the vehicles were parked at or near the Justice Institute” in New Westminster.

READ ALSO: Surrey couple convicted of unlawfully confining quadriplegic man

READ ALSO: High-risk sex offender released into Surrey

READ ALSO: Court upholds conditional discharge for ‘violent degrading acts’ in Surrey domestic violence case

While Rheaume was not named as a defendant in the class action lawsuit Ari’s lawyer argued ICBC is vicariously liable for her wrongdoing.

The plaintiffs are claiming general and pecuniary damages for violation of privacy, expenses paid for alternate accommodation, security and moving expenses, and loss of past and future income.

There is a publication ban on information that could identify any potential class members except in the case of those who have already begun proceedings in B.C. Supreme Court.

The matter was brought to appeal after a lower court judge found no evidence of misconduct on ICBC’s part and concluded Rheaume hadn’t violated the privacy of other affected residents at the primary plaintiffs’ premises because she didn’t accessed their names.

The court heard that after the breach ICBC cooperated with police and strengthened its security protocols.

“The chambers judge certified the class proceeding but declined to include other residents at the premises of the primary plaintiffs in the class or to certify the issue of punitive damages,” Bennett noted. “It is not plain and obvious that the statute is not broad enough to extend to the other residents, and ICBC’s subsequent laudable conduct does not necessarily insulate it from an award of punitive damages.”

Bennett decided to allow the appeal, include the other residents in the class action and also certified punitive damages as a common issue.

“The targets of the criminal organization were individuals and their families who attended at the Justice Institute, who were not necessarily the registered owners of the vehicles,” Bennett said. “It is arguable that anyone living at the address where the vehicle was registered had a reasonable expectation that their address would not be provided to a criminal organization.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Okanagan school districts receive thousands for trades programs

The money is part of $1.37 million given to fifty-one school districts for trades programs

Penticton’s Orchard House will be swinging during the ‘House is a Rockin’ Blues Jam

Don’t miss the Yard Katz and other local artists on Nov. 30

Officers from the South Okanagan successfully track suspects

Officers from several South Okanagan RCMP detachments and Police Dog Services members catch suspects

Co-accused in Penticton home invasion, standoff granted bail again

Jesse Mason was granted bail this morning, co-accused Josef Pavlik’s bail was denied

Summerland Fire Department organizes gift drive

Toys and Toonies for Tots and Teens campaign begins at Festival of Lights on Nov. 29

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperative breeding program

Pot shop opens near Princeton on band land

A medical and recreational cannabis shop opened earlier this month near Princeton.… Continue reading

Bidders down, costs up for Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Former Okanagan-based B.C. Dragoons leader pleads guilty to possession of child porn

Sean David Parker pleaded guilty to possession of child porn on Monday

Members of little people community applaud change to drop ‘midget’ term

‘It’s not about sensitivity,’ says Allan Redford, the president of the Little People of Canada

Two-month water advisory issued for some North Okanagan customers

Not a boil water notice, just an advisory as permanent fix in sight

Little progress in preventing sudden infant deaths since last report: BC Coroner

Coroners panel studied 141 sleep-related sudden infant deaths between 2013 and 2018

Okanagan ladies’ passion for ponies tops $100,000

22nd annual Horsey Ladies Charity Auction raises $8500 for Salmon Arm and Enderby groups

Most Read