Will I be protected if someone claims liability for stolen private information via notatized affidavit?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Will I be protected if someone claims liability for stolen private information via notatized affidavit?

An ex employee stole files from the business computer. He wrote an affidavit and had it notarized. The affidavit has an admission of guilt, a claim to have destroyed the information and personal acceptance of any liability. If someone’s personal information

Asked on September 29, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, your business is not automatically protected: the issue comes down to fault--that is, was your business negligent or careless in how it protected and secured the information, in who had access to it, or in hiring and retaining this employee (did he have a criminal record? did he do any criminal things at work or make threats? etc.)? If you were negligent and that carelessness contributed to the loss of the data, you could be liable. On the other hand, if you were not careless and took reasonable steps to secure the data, oversee employees and hire ones who did not show signs of posing a threat, etc., you would not be liable. It all comes down to the business's role, whether by act or omission, in the theft of data.
Also, for reference and the future, notarizing something does not mean it is true or accurate or trustworthy: all it means is that the notary verified that the person who signed is who he/she says he/she is (e.g. the notary checked the person's photo ID). People tend to think notarizing means much more than it does.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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