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Federal government seeks to settle student loan case

['Bob Buckingham. — Telegram file photo']
['Bob Buckingham. — Telegram file photo']

Settlement proposal means $60 minimum layout for members of class-action lawsuit

A $17.5-million settlement proposal has come forth in a national class-action lawsuit brought about due to a lost hard drive causing an alleged privacy breach.

The class action was brought forth in 2013 and became a full class action in January 2016.

About 583,000 student loan recipients who received loans between 2000 and 2007 were at risk from the privacy breach due to the lost hard drive.

The lawsuit alleged that an external hard drive being handled by either the National Student Loans Services Centre or Employment and Social Development Canada was lost in November 2012.

St. John’s-based Bob Buckingham Law was one of four law firms working on the case.

While the federal government denies liability in the matter, a settlement has been reached worth $17.5 million and “an unlimited amount for actual losses” to settle claims.

Class members who “suffered inconvenience” are eligible to receive a $60 payout, intended to compensate for “time spent responding to the potential privacy breach, estimated to be on average about four hours less legal fees and the costs of administration.”

Additional amounts can be claimed for the loss of personal information. An arbitrator will be brought in to determine which class members can claim the additional amounts.

Lawyers in the case will be paid $5.6 million, plus taxes, for their work on the case.

A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 22 to determine whether or not the proposed settlement is fair to those involved in the class action.

Those with objections must submit comments by Feb. 12.

More details will come on the amount of the settlement and the timeline for payout once the Feb. 22 hearing takes place at a courthouse in Ottawa.

Lawyers with Bob Buckingham Law did not respond to requests for comment by The Telegram’s deadline.

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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