Morrisons has been ordered to pay 40 per cent of claimant legal costs if it loses an appeal in the ongoing case over a massive data leak by one of its employees.
Morrisons is currently fighting a landmark data breach case in which it was found vicariously liable for the actions of disgruntled employee Andrew Skelton, who, in harbouring a "personal grievance" against the company, uploaded the details of almost 100,000 staff. The stunt earned him an eight-year jail sentence.
Morrisons appealed the ruling last year on the grounds it felt it shouldn't be held responsible for the actions of an employee whose intention it was to harm the company. The case will be heard again before the Court of Appeal in October.
The recent costs ruling found that should the claimants win the case again, the supermarket giant will have to pay 40 per cent of the common costs of running a class action. It will not affect the compensation that individuals are entitled to.
Nick McAleenan, who acted for the 5,518 claimants, said: "The claimants were delighted that the High Court found Morrisons liable for the data leak in this landmark case. They are also obviously pleased that the judge rejected Morrisons’ unusual arguments for a costs payment in Morrisons’ own favour following the liability trial, and that the judge has ordered the defendant to pay such a substantial amount in costs.
"The judge explained, unsurprisingly, that he views the claimants as the 'winners'. Morrisons itself secured compensation for the data leak, but is currently appealing the High Court decision. The case will come before the court of appeal in October. If the appeal is unsuccessful, a compensation trial will follow.”
Morrisons declined to comment.