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High Court

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Morrisons staff sue over data breach

Grocery giant Morrisons is being sued by thousands of current and former employees in a class action over damages brought about from a data leak.

The case at London’s High Court follows a breach of security in 2014, when a former senior internal auditor working at the retailer’s Bradford HQ posted the payroll information of nearly 100,000 employees on the internet.

The information included bank, salary and national insurance details, phone numbers and addresses.

Andrew Skelton apparently bore a grudge against Morrisons and was jailed for eight years in 2015 fro fraud, securing unauthorised access to computer material and disclosing personal data.

The new case is being viewed as the first data leak class action in the UK, with legal experts agreeing that the case has potential implications for every individual and business in the country.

The two-week trial is concerned with the use of liability, involving claims brought by 5,518 current and former Morrison staff, who allege the company failed to prevent the leak.

The claimants also allege that the data leak exposed them to identity theft and potential financial loss, with Morrisons responsible for breaches of privacy confidence and data protection laws.

The lawsuit is being brought bylaw firm JMW Solicitors.

Discussing the case, Nick McAleenan, partner at JMW Solicitors said: “The court will decide whether Morrisons bears any legal responsibility for the misuse and disclosure of the payroll information of the many thousands of people bringing claims in this case.”

Morrisons denies liability.

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Ashley sued over £15 million pub deal

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley is in the High Court over a £14 million breach of agreement.

Ashley is being sued by Jeff Blue, the company’s former strategic development director.

Blue claims that Ashley breached an agreement made in a pub in London in 2013. The pair had been out drinking, when Ashley allegedly promised Blue £15 million if he doubled Sports Direct’s share price within a three-year period.

Sports Direct’s share price reached £8 for the first time in February 2014, with Ashley paying Blue £1 million for his assistance, although no records were made of the payment.

Ashley alleges that the payment was not in relation to any deal made with Blue on the night out. Blue is now taking Ashley to court for the £14 million he was allegedly promised.

The Financial Times reports that Blue said Ashley “said words to the effect of which was… if he can get the stock to £8 per share why should I give a f*** how much I have to pay him, as I will have made so much money it doesn’t matter”.

Ashley has issued a statement against Blue’s allegations. In it he states that a “considerable amount of alcohol was drunk” and that no formal agreement had been made.