A recent issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly features a quote from Steve Riden in an article titled “Added attorneys’ fees in earlier case provides basis for standing.”
The article covers a decision by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concerning the analysis of whether a party had standing to assert a claim arising out of the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information in a separate lawsuit. The decision was entered in the case titled Wiener v. MIB Group, Inc.
The decision addresses whether attorneys fees incurred in a separate lawsuit, incurred as a result of the unauthorized disclosure of certain life insurance information to another party in that action, could support a claim against the disclosing party. Notably, the entity that disclosed the confidential, person information did so on its own volition – it was not compelled to do so in response to a subpoena.
In the article, Stephen Riden is quoted as follows:
There may not be many cases with similar facts — where an entity holds such comprehensive information across an industry, like the defendants in Wiener possessed about life insurance applicants, said Boston attorney Stephen D. Riden.
However, there are plenty of cases in which people outside of a lawsuit — often former employees, who do not enjoy whistleblower protection but may be bound by confidentiality agreements — may have information helpful to one of the parties.
The disadvantaged party may then come to believe they suffered an injury from the disclosure of that information in violation of a confidentiality agreement, Riden noted. The rationale behind Wiener suggests that the third party could then be sued.
“[The decision] hints at opening up another front for litigation,” Riden said.
Boston attorney Justin P. O’Brien agreed, noting that in his practice he has had instances in which he has tried unsuccessfully to argue that the expenditure of attorneys’ fees is potentially actionable.
Practitioners will want to be aware of the Wiener decision, as it provides a “toehold to that issue,” he said.
To insulate and provide cover for witnesses from claims like the plaintiff’s, attorneys should consider sending those witnesses a subpoena, Riden suggested.
The article is by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly’s reporter, Kris Olson.
Steve is a seasoned litigator with substantial experience successfully litigating complex commercial matters in state and federal court. Steve has substantial experience representing owners involved in intra-corporate disputes, including shareholder litigation and close-corporation control matters.
His exceptional track record in navigating the intricacies of court procedures, coupled with his deep understanding of commercial law, has earned him a reputation for delivering favorable outcomes for his clients. With an acute attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to upholding the rights and interests of his clients, Steve consistently demonstrates his ability to effectively advocate for their positions.
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