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Have you been ‘diagnosed with a psychological condition’ after the 2018 BA data breach?

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If you signed up to the class action lawsuit against British Airways over the 2018 data breach, you may have received an email this week asking for details of your mental health.

As I understand it, some claimants will have to appear as part of the case, to be a representative sub-set of all claimants. Your Lawyers, which is working on the case, appears to be trying to find some suitable people.

These are the questions which Your Lawyers is asking people who signed up to the lawsuit to answer:

British Airways BA 777X 777 9X
  • Were you suffering with any pre-existing mental health/diagnoses at the time you were notified by the British Airways regarding the breach?
  • If so, do you feel that your pre-existing condition has been exacerbated since learning of the data breach?
  • Since learning of the British Airways data breach have you sought medical attention as a result of distress caused by the breach?
  • If you have sought medical attention, on what date did you first do so following the breach?
  • Have you received a diagnosis of any psychological condition since learning of the breach?
  • Have you suffered any distress as a result of the breach?
  • If the answer to the previous question is yes, please provide a brief explanation as to how the breach has caused you distress

Since the breach, have you been affected by any of the following:

  • Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge?
  • Not being able to stop or control worrying?
  • Worrying too much about different things?
  • Trouble relaxing?
  • Being so restless that it is hard to sit still?
  • Becoming easily annoyed or irritable? 
  • Feeling afraid as if something awful might happen? 
British Airways BA A380 flying

Over the last two weeks, how often have you been affected by any of the following problems?

  • Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge?
  • Not being able to stop or control worrying?
  • Worrying too much about different things?
  • Trouble relaxing?
  • Being so restless that it is hard to sit still?
  • Becoming easily annoyed or irritable? 
  • Feeling afraid as if something awful might happen? 
  • Do you continue to suffer with distress as a result of the British Airways data breach?
  • If you are no longer suffering distress as a result of the data breach, approximately how long did it take for you to recover from the distress caused by the breach?

I am beginning to look forward to the court case now ….

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Comments (92)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    Bad timing for the article…

    • Andrew says:

      Not really.

      BA’s swift response makes me wonder how much they’ve lost in Nectar Fraud already. People do reuse passwords, before I switched to a password manager, I batched passwords. Airline batch, hotel batch, supermarket batch, general retail…

      Banking and email ones were never duplicated and still aren’t on the password manager.

      • ChrisC says:

        Last weekend I started to update my passwords to eliminate any duplication .
        The password biton iPhone /pad is good for telling you which passwords you are using across multiple sites.

        It can just take a long time to do because you often need to generate a “reset password” email to then click a link etc etc

        I’ve grouped my passwords into themes so last week I updated the “media” section – Netflix, Disney+ etc etc and I need to move onto other groups such as shopping and travel.

  • Chris Heyes says:

    OMG Rob, How people on here can get so stressed, annoyed, mad ect
    Certainly makes interesting reading, just waiting for the end of the world announcement
    I’m sure I’ll read about it first on here lol

    • Catalan says:


      Hysterics or what!

      • ChrisC says:

        Should see some of the comments on BA flyer talk board. There are probably more complaints on that board alone than all other affected airline boards together which are a lot more measured.

        Absent any difficulties there may be with resetting passwords BA simply can’t do any right in the eyes of some people. Advise them to change passwords and it’s awful but if BA didn’t then that’s awful as well.

        • Andrew says:

          Agree, very strange the comments further up this page about people wanting to throw their phone across the room etc. I do think it’s a symptom of lockdown that we all get more irate about small things because we don’t have much opportunity to reset our thoughts, just stuck at home. Equally we get 250 nectar points (£1.25) in the “Juicy Bonus” and we’re acting like we’ve won the lottery!

          • Chris H says:

            I don’t think the comment about throwing the phone was because they had to change their password, just at how difficult it was to change it.

  • Flyoff says:

    BA don’t make things simple. I could never guess changing a password could be made so difficult. Small niggles, it states special characters are allowed. When my password was rejected in th spot up it shows some are and some aren’t. Using a password manager it would be simpler if they told you what was not acceptable not what are acceptable. I also had my password reset rejected, after having to type in the password, as I couldn’t paste in my new password, because my username had defaulted to a capital letter at the start. It would help if BA thought about be8ng customer friendly. Thank you BA for an enjoyable task.

  • JDB says:

    Wow! If the group litigation lawyers on the BA data breach case are seriously planning to rely on this, the case really is doomed. The process for the claimants to provide witness statements/evidence and show (on the balance of probabilities) that their ‘psychological condition’ directly and exclusively related to the BA will be the real source of stress.

    • ChrisC says:

      And those that are selected to be witnesses can expect to be questioned by BA lawyers about their condition and to thoroughly vet the witnesses medical records before trial.

      I wonder if the email from Your Lawyer make that clear?

    • Chris Heyes says:

      JDB The information isn’t to win the case (the case “WILL” be won)
      The information will be used to increase the compensation paid out to “all” the Claimant’s

      • Rob says:

        I agree. BA will lose but the only way to get more than £20 per claimant is like this ….

      • Lady London says:

        With a bit of luck the judge will dismiss such claims on the basis such effects are impossible to identify separately due to the much greater stress everyone’s undergoing since Covid…. plus @ChrisC’s valuable point above that your medical history will have to be shared if you volunteer on this one.

        • Will says:

          Can we issue a class action lawsuit against the CCP for covering up covid until it was too late?

          That claim would have some substantial evidence of real loss!

  • N says:

    This is really dark.

    I take great joy in clicking every ad I see for these law firms.

  • Jake Taylor says:

    The issue here is damage. To succeed in almost any civil claim under English law, you need to show actual damages. There is no general concept of punitive damages.

    Given that the vast majority of people affected by the BA data breach did not actually suffer any financial loss, there is, on the face of it, no claim against BA.

    That’s why the class action lawyers are now turning to the tried and tested Plan B for speculative litigation – mental health.

    You may not have actual lost anything tangible, but goodness me those levels of anxiety have gone through the roof haven’t they? That therefore creates the required ‘damages’ – detriment to your mental health.

    I am not at all surprised by this follow up questionnaire. I was affected by the data breach and signed up to the class action largely out of interest (and a simmering dislike of BA – long story). The focus on the mental health element upon registering was substantial.

    Expect to see some interesting witnesses if this proceeds to trial. They won’t be turning up in a neck brace, but all manner of eye twitches and mid-interrogation pill-popping is possible.

    • Lady London says:

      I still think in UK mental stress etc cannot get any compo standalone there has to be some physical loss or injury for distress etc to be claimed

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Lady London The case will be won, in fact it can’t lose.
        BA have already been found guilty and admitted the “data breach”
        So the case can’t fail, it all depends what judge takes case and the action and how much the damages will be set at

  • Aston100 says:

    I dislike BA but find myself hoping they do well against these ambulance chasers.

  • Pete says:

    I find it intriguing when people defend BA on here in relation to this lawsuit. Every day on this website and many others we get examples of how poorly BA treats its customers, consistently provides incorrect or misleading advice on their rights and ignores legislation. The vast majority of BA customers cannot be bothered to go to CEDR or fight them through MCOL to have their rights upheld. The CAA has no interest in doing anything against BA or any other airline, seemingly. So even if I make nothing from joining this action or it’s as little as £5, I would hope it may serve as a slap on the wrist to them. Class action lawsuits are the only thing that vaguely keeps corporations in-check in the US, maybe we need to head that way here too, if our regulators will not act… I would much rather join a class action lawsuit related to their breaches of Regulation 261/2004, but we are where we are.

    • Bagoly says:

      Very fair points.

      I would much prefer that our regulators will act.

    • sayling says:

      I would argue that you only see the thoughts, comments and gripes of a minority of BA customers; further, that the vast majority of BA passengers have no cause to use either MCOL or CEDR, as they access the services provided with no issues at all.

    • Doug M says:

      We’d really need to know the number of 261 cases settled without issue, and the number that have to be taken beyond BA to settle as a win for the customer. Any forum and comment section will always make the problem seem worse than it may be. I also think that whilst the compensation part is suspended at present, the right to reschedule is too generous in the current situation which was never foreseen. This has been used by some to book cheap flights, then gaming system to rearrange them for times when the cost is much higher.
      In terms of the regulator and ineffectiveness that’s really as always. When does a Political Party ever run on an agenda of we’re going to concentrate on enforcing all the existing laws and regulations before we worry about any new ones. It’s always rubbish like a safe pair of hands, law and order, we’ll bring legislation to……

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