In a draft research paper titled "Empirical Analysis of Data Breach Litigation", three prominent scholars have collected and analyzed a sample of over 230 federal data breach lawsuits in order to deduce just what makes them tick.

Romanosky, Hoffman and Acquisti examined, for example, what factual and legal characteristics made a company more likely to be sued for a breach of personal data, and what made a data breach lawsuit more likely to settle.

As an interesting example, they found that the odds of a company being sued over a data breach are six times lower when the company offered free credit monitoring following the breach. They also examined the probability of lawsuit and settlement as a function of the causes of the breach and the types of data lost.

The researchers provided some very interesting summary data. For example, by coding data within the federal complaints, they found 87 unique causes of action brought by plaintiffs’ attorneys. They also provided information on settlement amounts, attorney’s fees awards and cy pres awards.

Any lawyer who handles data breach cases would likely find this article to provide valuable insights.