Sony settles hacking lawsuit, to pay up to $8 million

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Sony Pictures
Lawyers for former Sony Pictures Entertainment employees whose data was breached last year say they have tentatively reached a settlement with the company.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File

LOS ANGELES -- Sony Pictures Entertainment has reached a settlement with current and former employees, agreeing to pay up to $8 million to reimburse them for identity-theft losses, preventative measures and legal fees related to the hack of its computers last year.

The settlement was filed with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles late Monday and still needs to be approved by a judge.

The agreement calls for up to $10,000 a person, capped at $2.5 million, to reimburse workers for identity theft losses, up to $1,000 each to cover the cost of credit-fraud protection services, capped at $2 million, and up to $3.5 million in legal fees.

Hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace broke into Sony Pictures computers and last November released thousands of emails, documents, social security numbers and other personal information in an attempt to derail the release of the North Korean-focused comedy "The Interview." The U.S. government blamed North Korea for the attack.

In a memo to staff Tuesday, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton called the agreement "an important, positive step forward in putting the cyber-attack firmly behind us."

Sony Corp. CEO Kazuo Hirai told a technology conference on Tuesday that following the hack, the movie studio has "come out more resilient, more strong and they have a very good management team in place now." Hirai said there wasn't much of a business impact from the hack, although he said employee morale was hurt for a short time.

Former Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal left her position after a trove of embarrassing emails was leaked, including racially insensitive remarks about President Barack Obama's purported taste in movies. She continues to run a production venture at Sony that will handle major blockbuster franchises such as the "Spider-Man" series.