Personal Safety Tips in the Era of Cyber Crime

Someone is trying to steal your data. It has likely happened already, through a hacked email or a social media breach. Hackers work around the clock and all over the world to steal your identity.  While they don’t actually care who you are personally, they want the “you” that is inherent in your personal data.

From a legal standpoint, cyber-criminals are difficult to prosecute, because they are experts at covering their tracks. Institutions, on the other hand, are being challenged to protect their clients and employees. When a major breach occurs –millions of accounts are raided. This type of breach is often the result of organizational negligence or the company not adequately protecting a customer’s data.

So how can you protect yourself in the ever-changing landscape of the web?

We’ve compiled a list of quick checks to help you maximize your chance of withstanding a data breach.  As technology progresses, it is important to use best practices for cyber-security, at home and at work.

USE STRONG PASSWORDS

This is your primary defense against cyber-criminals. Creating unique passwords for each account may feel like a hazzle but remember this is your main line of defense against spyware, ID theft, and unwanted charges on your account.

USE TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

You have likely used this before, especially if you bank online or use social media accounts. “2FA” usually requires you to enter a second code, transmitted by text or phone call. Unless a hacker can obtain both your password and phone, 2FA is a powerful shield.

USE A VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK

A VPN is a private network that is usually encrypted, making it very difficult for hackers to break. VPNs are affordable and easy to install, and many workplaces require VPNs for all employees, especially if they work on company laptops at home. If you’ve never used one before, we suggest consulting an expert to ensure your VPN is legitimate and functions properly. (Check the validity of any application before downloading anything off of the internet).

VET YOUR EMAILS AND LINKS

You may still receive misspelled emails from foreign dignitaries, but scammers have become far more sophisticated in recent years. Cyber-criminals routinely hack into email accounts in order to send urgent (and authentic-sounding) requests. If you receive a link that looks at all unfamiliar, do not click it. You may not only contract malware on your device; you could spread it to an entire network.

If you have been a victim of cyber-identity theft and have additional questions about protecting your data, let us know.







    Uber Driver

    Federal Court Rules That Civil Rights Claims Against Uber Must Be Heard in Court

    Ruling comes after Uber tried to avoid its legal responsibility to provide transportation accessible for all

    Uber logoPITTSBURGH, PA (November 13, 2019) – Yesterday, a federal court in Pittsburgh ruled that plaintiffs suing Uber for failing to provide transportation accessible to people with disabilities cannot be forced into arbitration and must have their claims heard openly in federal court.

    Filed on June 11, 2019, the lawsuit seeks modifications to Uber’s policies and practices to ensure that the company makes wheelchair-accessible vehicles readily available to Pittsburgh riders who need them. Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages.

    “We filed this lawsuit to ensure that Uber and other ridesharing companies provide transportation that is accessible to all, including people with disabilities,” said Disability Rights Advocates staff attorney Melissa Riess and Carlson Lynch LLP Founding Partner R. Bruce Carlson. “Facing a number of accessibility lawsuits around the country, Uber has repeatedly tried to prevent these claims from being heard in court to avoid their legal obligation to provide accessible transportation. This ruling reinforces that the right to accessible transportation is a civil right, and it cannot be denied to our clients or anyone else.

    “Plaintiffs are not seeking monetary damages. This suit is not about money. It’s about ensuring an inclusive transportation system for all Pittsburghers.”

    The ruling means that the plaintiffs can proceed in federal court and have their claims heard under federal civil rights laws – allowing the case to proceed on the plaintiffs’ claims of systemic discrimination by Uber against people with disabilities.

    Drawing on previous rulings in similar cases, the court rejected as “meritless” Uber’s novel argument that people who have not downloaded Uber’s app or signed up to its terms of use could be forced into arbitration and upheld the basic legal principle that someone cannot be bound by a contract they did not agree to.

    In addition to the case filed against Uber in Pittsburgh, DRA has filed cases against Uber in New York and California for their failure to serve riders who use wheelchairs. DRA has also filed a case against Uber’s competitor Lyft in California. These cases are critical to protecting the rights of wheelchair-users throughout the country. More background on the case is available here.

    # # #

    About Disability Rights Advocates

    With offices in New York and California, Disability Rights Advocates is the leading nonprofit disability rights legal center in the nation. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with all types of disabilities in complex, system-changing, class action cases. DRA is proud to have upheld the promise of the ADA since our inception. Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to education, health care, employment, transportation, disaster preparedness planning, voting, and housing. For more information, visit dralegal.org.

    About Carlson Lynch LLP

    Carlson Lynch, LLP is a national class action firm which currently has more than 20 lawyers spread across offices in Pittsburgh, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Since 2010, the firm has dedicated significant resources to litigation on behalf of individuals with disabilities. The firm is committed to pursuing impactful cases that advance the interests of the disabled community on the largest possible scale. Carlson Lynch also regularly litigates class actions involving data breach, privacy, consumer protection, and wage and hour violations

    Ruling comes after Uber tried to avoid its legal responsibility to provide transportation accessible for all

    Uber logoPITTSBURGH, PA (November 13, 2019) – Yesterday, a federal court in Pittsburgh ruled that plaintiffs suing Uber for failing to provide transportation accessible to people with disabilities cannot be forced into arbitration and must have their claims heard openly in federal court.

    Filed on June 11, 2019, the lawsuit seeks modifications to Uber’s policies and practices to ensure that the company makes wheelchair-accessible vehicles readily available to Pittsburgh riders who need them. Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages.

    “We filed this lawsuit to ensure that Uber and other ridesharing companies provide transportation that is accessible to all, including people with disabilities,” said Disability Rights Advocates staff attorney Melissa Riess and Carlson Lynch LLP Founding Partner R. Bruce Carlson. “Facing a number of accessibility lawsuits around the country, Uber has repeatedly tried to prevent these claims from being heard in court to avoid their legal obligation to provide accessible transportation. This ruling reinforces that the right to accessible transportation is a civil right, and it cannot be denied to our clients or anyone else.

    “Plaintiffs are not seeking monetary damages. This suit is not about money. It’s about ensuring an inclusive transportation system for all Pittsburghers.”

    The ruling means that the plaintiffs can proceed in federal court and have their claims heard under federal civil rights laws – allowing the case to proceed on the plaintiffs’ claims of systemic discrimination by Uber against people with disabilities.

    Drawing on previous rulings in similar cases, the court rejected as “meritless” Uber’s novel argument that people who have not downloaded Uber’s app or signed up to its terms of use could be forced into arbitration and upheld the basic legal principle that someone cannot be bound by a contract they did not agree to.

    In addition to the case filed against Uber in Pittsburgh, DRA has filed cases against Uber in New York and California for their failure to serve riders who use wheelchairs. DRA has also filed a case against Uber’s competitor Lyft in California. These cases are critical to protecting the rights of wheelchair-users throughout the country. More background on the case is available here.

    # # #

    About Disability Rights Advocates

    With offices in New York and California, Disability Rights Advocates is the leading nonprofit disability rights legal center in the nation. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with all types of disabilities in complex, system-changing, class action cases. DRA is proud to have upheld the promise of the ADA since our inception. Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to education, health care, employment, transportation, disaster preparedness planning, voting, and housing. For more information, visit dralegal.org.

    About Carlson Lynch LLP

    Carlson Lynch, LLP is a national class action firm which currently has more than 20 lawyers spread across offices in Pittsburgh, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Since 2010, the firm has dedicated significant resources to litigation on behalf of individuals with disabilities. The firm is committed to pursuing impactful cases that advance the interests of the disabled community on the largest possible scale. Carlson Lynch also regularly litigates class actions involving data breach, privacy, consumer protection, and wage and hour violations


    Group Photo from E-Discovery Conference

    Partner Katrina Carroll Speaks at E-Discovery Conference

    Group Photo from E-Discovery Conference

    Back row: Simeon Morbey, Katrina Carroll, Drew Lewis, Lea Malani Bays, Jeannine Kenney, Brian Clark, Annika Martin, Jonathan Wiley, Rebekah Bailey
    Front row: James Bilsborrow, Jonathan Jagher, Shana Scarlett, Daniel Stromberg

    Carlson Lynch LLP Partner, Katrina Carroll presented at the fifth annual E-Discovery Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota this month. The conference, also known as the Complex Litigation E-Discovery Forum, is based on best practices for plaintiffs’ side complex litigation attorneys. The two-day seminar focused on depositions and e-Discovery.

    Carroll’s topic, “The Interplay of Depositions & E-Discovery: Plaintiff Offensive Review Workflows and Tips” included several strategies when preparing class action plaintiffs for the litigation discovery process. She highlighted how crucial it is to 1). Establish open dialogue with each client, outlining the importance of transparency in communication and 2.) The discovery process could involve the investigation of a client’s online presence. Social media interactions can result in a waiver of attorney-client privilege. Those clients pursuing litigation must be careful when sharing information on social media and not discuss specific details of their case, otherwise, they forfeit their privilege. In this day in age when oversharing is the norm, attorneys must compel their clients to focus their energy on communicating with their attorneys and forgo the urge to disclose every detail of their case online.

    “Crafty defense attorneys focus on social media communications in recent years. This area will surely become the subject of court inquiries and I would expect that any discussion in a public forum will be fair game for examination.” - Katrina Carroll

    Katrina Carroll has participated in numerous conventions and conferences such as the American Bar Association Annual National Institute on Class Actions in 2014, the Perrin’s Class Action Litigation Conference in 2015, Loyola University School of Law’s Consumer Law Review Academic Symposium in 2017 and the Class Action Mastery Program in 2018 to name just a few.
    For more information on Katrina Carroll’s work or on the E-Discovery Forum please visit:
    E-Discovery Conference Website (Opens in new window)


    Jamisen Etzel Headshot

    Jamisen Etzel of Carlson Lynch Wins Affirmance of Class Action Trial Victory

    The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in favor of Carlson Lynch’s clients and upheld a jury award of more than $4.5 million to a class of dancers who worked for the Penthouse Club in Philadelphia.

    The case went to jury trial in March of 2018, and the jury’s award was then appealed by the Penthouse Club. Jamisen Etzel of Carlson Lynch briefed the appeal and presented oral argument in front of the Third Circuit in Philadelphia on April 17, 2019.

    The Third Circuit issued its opinion on August 30, 2019, affirming “across the board” the jury’s $4.5 million verdict for unpaid minimum wages and unjust enrichment under Pennsylvania law. The court also confirmed the district judge’s decision in June 2014 that the dancers were in fact employees of the Penthouse Club and subject to the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act.

    Jamisen Etzel, a graduate of Duquesne University (magna cum laude 2008) and New York University School of Law (J.D. in 2011), represented the class of dancers throughout the pretrial and trial phases of the case, along with Carlson Lynch Founding Partner, Gary Lynch, Esq., and Co-Counsel Gerald D. Wells, III of Connolly Wells & Gray.

    Since joining Carlson Lynch LLP in 2012, Mr. Etzel has argued in the Third, Fourth, and Eleventh Circuits, and assisted on briefs in the Second and Ninth Circuits and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. His appellate work has yielded reported decisions favorable to his clients, including on several matters of first impression. This is his fourth federal appellate victory on behalf of nightclub dancers. The previous cases are: Mickles v. Country Club, Inc., 887 F.3d 1270 (11th Cir. 2018), DeGidio v. Crazy Horse Saloon and Restaurant, Inc., 880 F.3d 135 (4th Cir. 2018), and Herzfeld v. 1416 Chancellor, Inc., 666 F. App’x 124 (3d Cir. 2016).

    In 2019, Mr. Etzel was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers.


    Gary Lynch sitting at his desk

    The Legal Intelligencer spotlights Attorney of the Year Nominee


    The Legal Intelligencer spotlights Attorney of the Year Nominee and founding Carlson Lynch LLP partner Gary Lynch, Esq. Gary "is involved in just about every major cyber breach litigation in the U.S., but such cases weren’t always his focus.”

    Read article online


    Uber Driver

    Uber Sued for Discriminating Against Wheelchair-Users

    Uber logoCarlson Lynch LLP and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a class action lawsuit against Uber, challenging the popular ride-sharing service’s failure to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in the Pittsburgh area through its rideshare service.

    Today, Carlson Lynch LLP and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a class action lawsuit against Uber, challenging the popular ride-sharing service’s failure to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in the Pittsburgh area through its rideshare service. The suit, brought by individuals in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, challenges Uber’s wheelchair-inaccessibility. The plaintiffs—four individuals who use wheelchairs—brought this action to end Uber’s discriminatory practices and policies.

    Since launching its transportation service in San Francisco in July 2010, Uber has experienced explosive growth, has seized an ever-expanding market share from taxi companies, and is now a major provider of individual transportation services in over 450 cities in the United States, including Pittsburgh. However, Uber, a multi-billion-dollar company, does not provide wheelchair-accessible transportation in and around Pittsburgh, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Uber has been sued in cities around the United States for its violation of disability laws by failing to provide wheelchair-accessible service, yet it has continued its policy of denying that service.

    Uber’s failure to make accessible vehicles available through its service denies people in Pittsburgh who use wheelchairs access to reliable, on-demand transportation that could drastically improve their lives, enabling them to travel to a wider variety of destinations without having to rely on transportation via expensive and unreliable taxis, unreliable paratransit, and limited public transit. It would enable them to travel spontaneously, without having to schedule transportation hours or even days in advance. Unfortunately, Plaintiffs and members of the class are excluded from these benefits, and suffer real harm as a result.

    For example, on multiple occasions Plaintiff Paul O’Hanlon has had to travel several miles by wheelchair when he has missed the last city bus. “By reason of my disability I am denied access to Uber’s on-demand transportation that allows others to move around the city on their own schedules,” he said. Similarly, Plaintiff Irma Allen must rely on her son for transportation, which requires him to take time off work and lose a day’s wages. Ms. Allen said, “My family and I are at a distinct disadvantage because Uber doesn’t provide wheelchair-accessible service. It’s not fair that we are being left behind while other folks are enjoying the benefits of Uber’s new technology.”

    Michelle Iorio, Staff Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates, said, “Transportation can be a real challenge for people with mobility disabilities, who often don’t have access to their own vehicle and who frequently can’t depend on paratransit because it is unreliable. Accessible ride sharing would facilitate societal integration for persons with disabilities, and Uber’s failure to provide wheelchair-accessible service undermines this potential.”

    Echoing this sentiment, Bruce Carlson, a founding partner at national class action firm Carlson Lynch, LLP, noted: “Uber’s express business plan, as detailed in its regulatory filings, is to displace public transportation with its ride sharing services. The problem is that public transportation, where available, is largely accessible, but Uber’s ride sharing services are not. Uber wants to create a paradigm shift with respect to the provision of transportation services. But will the new paradigm realize the potential of exponentially increasing accessibility, or will it leave individuals with mobility disabilities behind?”

    The lawsuit seeks modifications to Uber’s policies and practices to ensure that it makes wheelchair accessible vehicles readily available to persons who need them through its on- demand ridesharing services. Plaintiffs do not seek monetary damages.

    In addition to the case filed today against Uber in Pittsburgh, DRA has filed cases against Uber in New York and California for their failure to serve riders who use wheelchairs. DRA has also filed a case against Uber’s competitor Lyft in California. These cases are critical to protecting the rights of wheelchair-users throughout the country.

    A copy of the Complaint is available here.


    Carlson Lynch Announces Chicago Native, Katrina Carroll, as Partner to Lead New Chicago Office

    Carlson Lynch LLP, a Pittsburgh-based class action law firm, expands its national presence with the opening of a Chicago office and the addition of three Chicago attorneys. The firm’s new location will be led by Chicago native and newly appointed Carlson Lynch Partner, Katrina Carroll, a veteran class action litigator and former partner of Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC. Katrina will continue her national class action practice upon joining Carlson Lynch and will oversee the firm’s expansion into Chicago.

    Katrina brings nineteen years of litigation experience and has worked on nearly all types of class actions in various leadership roles, including products liability, data breach and privacy, consumer, environmental contamination, antitrust and securities matters. Katrina also maintains a thriving local counsel practice in Chicago and a vast network of co-counsel relationships with some of the most prominent class action practitioners across the United States.

    “I am thrilled to join this talented group of attorneys at Carlson Lynch, some of whom I’ve known for many years,” says Ms. Carroll. “It quickly became apparent that we all share the same passion: fighting for the underdog. I look forward to taking the good fight into the future with the support of my new partners.”

    Since the firm was founded in 2004, Carlson Lynch has dedicated itself to representing plaintiffs in class litigation involving consumer and financial fraud, data breach and privacy, labor and employment, disability access and wage and hour laws, in federal and state courts throughout the country. With the addition of the new Chicago office, Carlson Lynch expands its expertise to a major market.

    According to Gary Lynch, one of the firm’s founding partners, “Having Katrina join our firm as Partner and opening our Chicago office with two established class action attorneys helps fortify our work in bringing justice for plaintiff’s nationwide. With an office in San Diego and our base in Pittsburgh we are excited to welcome them to our professional family.”

    Kyle Shamberg and Nicholas Lange will join Katrina in Carlson Lynch’s Chicago office.


    Kelly Iverson

    Carlson Lynch Partner, Kelly Iverson, Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania

    The National Trial Lawyers Top 100Congratulations to Carlson Lynch LLP Partner, Kelly K. Iverson for being invited to join The National Trial Lawyers as one of the
    Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania. Kelly is being recognized as a premier US trial lawyer who exemplifies superior qualifications as civil plaintiff or criminal defense trial lawyers.

    Kelly has extensive litigation experience in both state and federal courts and has argued in front of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

     

    Kelly Iverson

    Super Lawyers

    Carlson Lynch Super Lawyers & Rising Stars Announced

    Every year Super Lawyers selects attorneys from all firm sizes & over 70 practice areas throughout the United States. Congratulations to Super Lawyers' Carlson Lynch LLP Partner Gary Lynch, Ed Kilpela, & Todd Carpenter and Rising Stars Kelly Iverson, James McGraw & Jamisen Etzel.

    Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting a lawyer, it limits the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public.

    Group of Carlon Lynch Lawyers nomincates as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

    At Carlson Lynch, our team has been elevating the level of discussion, debate and change towards justice in this country for more than thirty years.

    "As we continue to raise the bar fighting for the rights of men & women, we congratulate this group for being selected this year's Super Lawyers* and Rising Stars** recipients." -Bruce Carlson and Gary Lynch

    Pictured from left to right: Gary Lynch*, Kelly Iverson**, Bruce Carlson, Ed Kilpela*, James McGraw**, Jamisen Etzel**


    Gary Lynch Headshot

    Carlson Lynch Partner, Gary Lynch Name the Legal Intelligencer Attorney of the Year Finalist

    Today, the Legal Intelligencer announced the 2019 Professional Excellence Award winners, highlighting the great work and achievements across the full breadth of the Pennsylvania legal community and naming Gary Lynch, a partner of Carlson Lynch, Attorney of the Year Finalist.

    In the 2018 landmark cybersecurity and data privacy case, Lynch successfully argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that companies have a common-law duty to protect their electronically stored employee data. The high court’s ruling reversed two controversial lower court rulings that had tossed out a lawsuit against UPMC over a data breach that exposed the personal information of tens of thousands of current and former employees.

    Earlier in 2018, Lynch was appointed co-lead counsel of national multidistrict litigation brought by over 70 financial institutions against Equifax, related to the company’s 2017 data breach.

    Lynch is helping to shape the emerging area of data breach and privacy law through his work on several cases over the past few years, including data breach litigation involving Target, Home Depot, UPMC and Wendy’s. He was co-lead counsel for the financial institutions suing Home Depot, following the home improvement retailer’s 2014 data breach and on the five-person executive committee overseeing the prosecution of nationwide litigation against Target for its 2013 breach.

    In addition to his work in the cyber security arena, Lynch continued his consumer protection and employee wage and hour practice in 2018, serving as co-lead for plaintiffs in a trial against the Penthouse Club in Philadelphia and securing a verdict of $4.5 Million on behalf of a class of exotic dancers who were misclassified as independent contractors by the night club.