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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.
 


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