Lawsuit filed in wake of privacy breach at Family and Children’s Services

BROCKVILLE – Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville is being sued in the wake of a massive security breach earlier this week.

The class action lawsuit filed this morning (Thursday) by a Toronto law firm on behalf of their client, identified as “M.M.”, the mother of a foster child that was the subject of an investigation.

The statement of claim seeks $25 million in general damages, $25 million in special damages and $25 million in punitive aggravated and exemplary damages, on behalf of clients or subjects that were investigated by FCSLLG.

Also named in the suit are the agency’s executive director, Raymond Lemay, the minister of children and youth services, the provincial government and John Doe.

John Doe is the person who is accused of posting a link to a confidential report on the Smiths Falls Swapshop Facebook page and the Facebook page of Families United, which identified 285 families involved with the CAS.

This is one more Facebook page than had earlier been identified when the breach was discovered April 18, 2016.

The plaintiffs claim there was negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of confidence, among other violations.

Lawyer Sean Brown of Flaherty McCarthy LLP, tells Brockville Newswatch their client is refraining from interviews at this time.

“This is a very serious breach of privacy, made possible by the Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville. That institution made the decision to use an on-line portal system that was easily accessed by an individual without any obvious hacking skills. The most sensitive and confidential information held by that body, specifically the names of those under its investigation, have now been published on the Internet. The damage has been done. That bell can not be unrung,” said Brown, in an emailed statement to BNW.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In a civil lawsuit, the defendants will have 20 days to file their statement of defence once the claim has been served.

While a date for the matter to be heard has not been set, the plaintiffs have indicated they would like to have the matter heard in Toronto, Ont.