$1 Billion Settlement Tentatively Reached in Tragic Surfside Condo Collapse

More than 20 entities have agreed to pay nearly $1 billion to settle a class action lawsuit over the 2021 collapse of a residential building in Surfside, Florida. Ninety-eight people died in the tragic building failure. The proposed settlement announcement was a surprise in this slow-moving class action. Presiding Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michae.l Hanzman must approve the proposed settlement. Hazman called the development “fantastic” and commented that the amount was higher than he expected.

Read more on how this happened and settlement details here.
Update: the judge approved the $1B settlement on June 23, 2022

Johnson & Johnson Employs Bankruptcy Strategy to Cap Litigation Payouts

The massive healthcare and consumer goods company, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), has faced an onslaught of lawsuits over asbestos-contaminated talcum powder for over a decade.  In an apparent effort to cap cancer victim payout liabilities the J&J shifted liability for tens of thousands of talcum powder lawsuits to a newly created subsidiary that promptly filed for bankruptcy. Read more here.

Apple’s Epic 14 Hour Deposition of Epic Games Expert Witness

Participating in a deposition is a common occurrence for expert witnesses. What’s less common is a request for 14 hours of deposing for a single expert. But this is exactly what transpired in a recent case in California’s Northern District. The presiding judge in Epic Games, Inc. v. Apple Inc. granted Apple’s lengthy request to depose one of Epic’s expert witnesses. Given this outcome, attorneys and their expert witnesses will want to think twice before submitting all-encompassing, bulky expert reports in complicated cases. Read full blog here

Marketers Shift Away from Campaign-based Thinking

“What has been interesting for us has been to see the gradual change amongst marketers who are only now starting to recognize the need to shift away from campaign-based thinking to a more comprehensive mindset for content and customer engagement,” says Jamie Posnanski of Accenture. Read more on 2018 content marketing trends here .  Chimp Tools
Is your marketing strategy evolving towards content and customer engagement?

What’s all this talk about digital transformation?

Digital transformation: Some organizations see it as a scary idea, wreaking revolutionary, unsettling changes. Others are curious — just what does this buzzword mean and what are we transforming into? Regardless of your viewpoint, your enterprise seriously needs to understand and chart its course to becoming a digital ninja. Like it or not, your success depends on how quickly your organization captures, absorbs and uses digital information. Read moretwitter_digitaltransformation.png

 

North Korean WannaCry Ignites Government-Industry Collective Defense

 

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In a Monday Wall Street Journal op-ed Thomas P. Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser, declared “[t]he [WannaCry] attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible.” The findings are based on evidence says Bossert, and he is backed up by UK and Microsoft.

A Washington Post Bossert quote ratchets up the call for closer government-industry cyberdefenses. “[S]ome say that defending cyberspace is impossible and that hackers are inevitable. I disagree. . . . Government and industry must work together, now more than ever, if we are serious.”

Today, US and UK officials suggested it was highly likely the Lazarus Group was backed by the North Korean government. Facebook deleted accounts associated with Lazarus last week “to make it harder for them to conduct their activities,” reports The Guardian,  Facebook announced it acted with Microsoft “and other members of the security community” to disrupt the group’s activities.

A few hours ago Axious reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans on intervening in U.S. company cybersecurity issues when necessary.

“The Department of Homeland Security is now calling on all companies to commit to U.S. collective defense, per Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications at DHS. But Bossert wouldn’t go so far as to say that an attack on a U.S. company constitutes an attack on the country.

DHS plans to move beyond offering voluntary assistance on cybersecurity issues and instead plans on intervening directly when necessary, per Manfra.”

Watch for much closer public-private actions to combat state-actor cyberattacks. 

Breaking News – Supreme Court to Rule on Microsoft EU Emails

A significant battle between Microsoft and law enforcement has made its way to the US Supreme Court. The DC Court of Appeals struck down lower courts’ decisions that Microsoft must give US law enforcement client emails  stored in Ireland in a drug trafficking case. The  upcoming Supreme Court ruling on this case will have far-reaching impact in our digital economy where data crisscrosses the global internet, coming to rest on a server in a particular country.

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How far do US laws extend to data stored in foreign countries?

If Microsoft is forced to hand over the emails from their Ireland data center, how will EU data protection authorities react?  Especially, given that the General Data Protection Regulations, an overhaul of EU data privacy laws, massive financial penalties for non-compliance take effect in May 2018.

If Microsoft does not have to hand over the emails, will criminals hide their communications and data overseas so US law enforcement cannot access it?

Be sure to follow this case and watch for the Supreme Court ruling.

Data Protection is Everybody’s Job

Data protection is everybody’s job today. With the perfect storm of  a doubling of data every two years, juicy dark web profits for stolen personal info and crushing data breach business impacts, organizations simply have to build data protection values into the company’s culture.  Read this blog for practical tips on how to do this in your organization.

 

Groundbreaking Cybersecurity Regulation Kicks in Today for New York Financial Institutions

It’s the first of it’s kind, but  surely not the last. The groundbreaking New York Department of Financial Services cybersecurity regulation takes effect today, August 28, 2017.  All financial services organizations operating in New York must be in compliance, along with their law firms and accountants. This regulation is likely the forerunner of more state cybersecurity regulations, especially after the summer of WannaCry and Not Petya. Learn more about the regulation in  a blog I wrote, published by the information governance leader Iron Mountain.