Eight people across the US who registered to use Ashley Madison are suing the cheating website after hackers released the personal and detailed information of millions of users.
The lawsuits were filed between last month and Monday by Ashley Madison users in California, Texas, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee and Minnesota. They all seek class-action status to represent the estimated 37 million registered users of Ashley Madison.
The lawsuits, which seek unspecified damages, claim negligence, breach of contract and privacy violations. They say Ashley Madison failed to take reasonable steps to protect the security of its users, including those who paid a special fee to have their information deleted.
Last month, hackers infiltrated Ashley Madison’s website and downloaded private information. The details – including names, emails, home addresses, financial data and message history – were posted publicly online last week.
“Needless to say, this dumping of sensitive personal and financial information is bound to have catastrophic effects on the lives of the website’s users,” according to a lawsuit filed on Friday on behalf of an anonymous Los Angeles man who created an account with Ashley Madison in March 2012.
“As a result of (Ashley Madison’s) unfair, unreasonable and inadequate data security, its users’ extremely personal and embarrassing information is now accessible to the public,” according to the lawsuit, filed by the Baltimore-based firm of Hammond Law.
Lawyer Julian Hammond, who says his firm has litigated class-action lawsuits against companies like Google, Apple and Hulu, said the Ashley Madison breach is unprecedented in his experience.
The website’s users are worried not only about identity theft but about the embarrassment of the release of intimate sexual preferences. Even registering for the site without having an actual affair could put marriages in jeopardy.
“I haven’t seen anything like it,” Hammond said on Tuesday.