During Tuesday night’s School Board of Manatee County meeting, board attorney Jim Dye said the district had received a claim letter related to the W2 breach earlier this year.
The letter is on the behalf of 20 district employees who plan to sue the district for releasing their personal information to cyberhackers.
“Falling for a well-known ‘phishing’ or scam email scheme, which human resources and accounting professionals have been warned about, the School District of Manatee County’s payroll employees complied with an email request to send unknown cyber criminals a PDF file that contained all 7,700 W-2s for any employee who worked in the district in 2016,” the letter states.
Dye said the claim letter was the likely precursor to a lawsuit, and that the attorney representing the client specialized in claims related to data breaches.
“Apparently this is a bit of a cottage industry,” Dye said. “The attorney we got the claim letter from you can find half a dozen other lawsuits and the language is identical.”
The attorney filing the claim is with the Florida law firm Morgan and Morgan but is based in North Carolina.
Dye said the claim letter named some district employees that were affected by the W2 breach, and that the attorneys would likely be looking for other affected employees in an attempt to file a class action suit.