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On July 28, 2020, Brown-Forman discovered it was the victim of a cyber-attack. The cyber-criminals stole certain records containing information about some of Brown-Forman’s current and former employees (and in some cases, limited information about employee dependents or beneficiaries). Brown-Forman initially disclosed the Data Breach on or about August 2020, and has notified current and former employees whose personal information was or may have been compromised in the Data Breach.
Thereafter, Alissa Goodlett filed a class action lawsuit alleging that she and other individuals were affected by the Data Breach. Alissa Goodlett is the “Plaintiff” or “Class Representative” and she sued Brown-Forman the “Defendant” on behalf of people who have similar claims (the “Class”). The lawsuit alleges Brown-Forman did not adequately protect the Class Members personal information. Brown-Forman denies all allegations of wrongdoing.
The Court did not reach a final decision in favor of the Class or Brown-Forman. Instead, both sides agreed to the February Settlement to resolve the lawsuit. A settlement avoids the costs and uncertainty of a trial and related appeals, while providing benefits to the Class.
The Class Representative and Class Counsel believed the February Settlement was best for all members of the Class. The Court in charge of the lawsuit approved the February Settlement.
You are a Class Member and are affected by the February Settlement if Brown-Forman notified you before August 21, 2021 that your personal information was or may have been compromised in the Data Breach.
If you have questions about whether you are a Class Member, you may contact Class Counsel (see FAQ 10 below).
If you are a Class Member and you submitted a valid Claim Form (Identity Protection) by July 7, 2021, you may obtain benefits under the February Settlement. The available benefits and process for submitting Claims to receive benefits are described in FAQ’s 4 and 6 below.
The February Settlement provided the following benefits:
1. Identity Protection Services.
Members of the Class could have elected to enroll in Experian IdentityWorksSM Identity Protection Services for a total period of three (3) years. Experian IdentityWorksSM includes credit monitoring from all three bureaus, access to the Experian credit report, $1 million in identity theft insurance, and identity restoration services.
If you previously signed up for Identity Protection Coverage through Brown-Forman after receiving notice of the Data Breach, you must have submitted a valid Claim Form (Identity Protection) to receive additional coverage for a period of three (3) years total. If you did not previously sign up for identity protection services, and you submitted a valid Claim Form (Identity Protection), you received three (3) years of Identity Theft Protection Coverage.
To receive Identity Theft Protection Coverage, you must have submitted a completed Claim Form (Identity Protection) by Wednesday, July 7, 2021.
2. Reimbursement for Out-of Pocket Losses.
To be eligible to receive reimbursement for Out-of-Pocket Losses, you must have signed up for Experian IdentityWorksSM by July 7, 2021 deadline and submit a completed Claim Form (Other Benefits) by the date on which your Experian IdentityWorksSM provided under the Settlement expires.
If you incurred expenses that are fairly traceable to the Data Breach, that were not reimbursed by insurance provided through Experian IdentityWorksSM, you can be reimbursed up to $5,000. Examples of reimbursable Out-of-Pocket Losses include:
• costs, expenses, losses or charges incurred a result of identity theft or identity fraud, falsified tax returns, or other possible misuse of your personal information;
• costs incurred on or after August 25, 2020, associated with accessing or freezing/unfreezing credit reports with any credit reporting agency; or
• other miscellaneous expenses incurred related to any out-of-pocket loss such as notary, fax, postage, copying, mileage, and long-distance telephone charges.
If you submit a claim for reimbursement of Out-of-Pocket Losses, you must provide the Settlement Administrator with your contact information as well as documents that show what happened and how much you lost or spent so that you can be repaid. You must also submit documents that show Experian IdentityWorksSM denied your claim(s). Handwritten receipts are, by themselves, not enough to receive reimbursement, but can be considered to add clarity to or support other submitted documentation.
Out-of-Pocket Losses are deemed fairly traceable to the Data Breach if the timing of the loss occurred on or after July 14, 2020, and the personal information used to commit identity theft or fraud consisted of the same type of personal information that was provided to Brown-Forman prior to the Data Breach.
To be reimbursed for Out-of-Pocket Losses, you must have first signed up for Experian IdentityWorksSM provided through the Settlement by submitting a Claim Form (Identity Protection) by Wednesday, July 7, 2021, submitted a claim for reimbursement to Experian IdentityWorksSM that was denied in whole or in part by Experian, and have exhausted Experian’s claims process.
3. Reimbursement for Attested Time.
To be eligible to receive reimbursement for attested time, you must have signed up for the Identity Protection by the July 7, 2021 deadline and submit a completed Claim Form (Other Benefits) by the date on which your Experian IdentityWorksSM provided under the Settlement expires.
If you spent time remedying issues related to identity theft directly caused by the Data Breach, you can submit a claim for $20 per hour for up to eight (8) total hours.
If you submit a claim for reimbursement for attested time, you must provide the Settlement Administrator with your contact information as well as the actions you took in response to the Data Breach and the time each action took. Class Members must attest that the information is provided under penalty of perjury.
4. Cash Payment for Inconvenience.
To be eligible to receive cash payment for inconvenience, you must have signed up for the Identity Protection by the July 7, 2021 deadline and submit a completed Claim Form (Other Benefits) by the date on which your Experian IdentityWorksSM provided under the Settlement expires.
If you submitted and received an insurance payment through Experian IdentityWorksSM relating to the Data Breach, you can receive a cash payment of $250.
If you submit a claim for a cash payment for inconvenience, you must provide the Settlement Administrator with your contact information as well as documentation showing the insurance payment by Experian.
To receive a cash payment for inconvenience, you must (i) have signed up for Experian IdentityWorksSM through the February Settlement by July 7, 2021 and (ii) receive an insurance payment through Experian IdentityWorksSM relating to the Data Breach.
5. Business Practice Commitments. Brown-Forman agreed to adopt and implement certain business practice commitments and remedial measures within the following general categories until at least August 2024:
1. Enhanced cybersecurity training and awareness program.
2. Enhanced data security policies.
3. Enhanced security measures.
4. Further restricting access to personal information.
5. Enhanced monitoring and response capability.
The February Settlement Agreement describes the released claims specifically. Section IV of the Settlement Agreement describes the specific claims Class Members gave up against Brown-Forman and all related people. The Settlement Agreement is available here or you can request a copy from the Settlement Administrator at 833-326-0772. Talk to Class Counsel (see FAQ 10 in the section on “The Lawyers Representing You” below) or your own lawyer if you have questions about the Released Claims or what they mean.
You must have submitted a Claim Form (Identity Protection) by July 7, 2021 to receive Settlement benefits.
Note that there are different deadlines that apply for each Claim Form, and to be eligible for reimbursement for Out-of-Pocket Losses or cash payment for inconvenience you must have first submitted a claim for identity protection.
• The Claim Form (Identity Protection) submission deadline has passed. The deadline was July 7, 2021.
• The Claim Form (Other Benefits) must have been submitted electronically or by mail on or before the date on which your Experian IdentityWorksSM provided under the Settlement expires. If submitted by mail, it must be postmarked on or before that date.
If you moved after submitting a Claim Form, it is your responsibility to provide your new address to the Settlement Administrator. The Settlement Administrator will use the most recent address it has on file for providing benefits under the Settlement.
The objection deadline was July 7, 2021.
If you objected, you are still entitled to receive benefits under the Settlement that you qualify for, but you must have submitted a valid Claim Form to do so (see FAQ 6 above). Submitting a Claim Form did not waive your objection to the Settlement.
If you wanted to keep the right you had, if any, to sue Brown-Forman based on the Data Breach, you must have excluded yourself from the Settlement Class by July 7, 2021.
The opt-out deadline was July 7, 2021.
No. If you did not exclude yourself from the February Settlement, you gave up the right you had, if any, to sue Brown-Forman and the Released Entities for any claims arising out of the Data Breach. See the answer to FAQ 5 above.
The Court has appointed the following lawyers to represent you and the other Settlement Class Members: These lawyers are called Class Counsel.
You can contact Class Counsel at 585-272-0540 or at [email protected]
J. Nelson Thomas
Jessica L. Lukasiewicz
Thomas & Solomon, LLP
693 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 21607
Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber, LLP
One North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10601
At the Final Approval Hearing, the Court approved Class Counsel’s request for (1) $570,000 for attorneys’ fees and costs to Class Counsel and (2) $5,000 for a service award to the class representative. These amounts have been paid by Brown-Forman, and did not affect the benefits provided to eligible Settlement Class Members as described above.
THE COURT’S FINAL APPROVAL HEARING
The Court held a Final Approval Hearing on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, in Division Three of the Jefferson County Judicial Center, 700 W. Jefferson St., Louisville, KY 40202. The Court approved the February Settlement, finding it to be fair, reasonable, and adequate.
If you did nothing, you are included in the Settlement Class, and are not able to pursue any other lawsuit against Brown-Forman and the Released Entities concerning or relating to the Data Breach. If you previously signed up for identity protection services when Brown-Forman offered them, you will not receive any further benefits other than the identity protection services you have already received. If you did not previously sign up for identity protection services, and you do nothing, you will not be eligible for reimbursement of Out-of-Pocket Losses or the cash payment for inconvenience.
This Website summarizes the Settlement. For precise terms and conditions of the Settlement, please see the Settlement Agreement available here.
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT BROWN-FORMAN, THE COURT, OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT OR THE CLAIMS PROCESS. CLASS COUNSEL OR THE SETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATOR ARE AVAILABLE TO ASSIST YOU SHOULD YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS.