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Federal lawsuit seeks hackers identity

Parent company of Jack in the Box fights what it calls false release of internal information

The company that owns the franchise rights to Jack in the Box restaurants in Oregon has gone to federal court to learn the identity of one or more people who has obtained confidential internal communications and sent them to investors and others to harm its reputation.

Lawyers representing Northwest Group Inc. filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Portland. The defendants, identified as John Doe and Jane Doe, are alleged to have used the email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to distribute the information.

Darien Loiselle, an attorney representing Northwest General, says none of the information obtained from the company demonstrates that it committed any crimes or violated any government regulations. Instead, Loiselle says the information concerns internal practices and procedures between the company and franchise holders that was misrepresented to make the company look bad.

The suit claims whoever obtained and distributed the information violated the federal Stored Communications Act that is intended to safeguard confidential internal communications. Loiselle says the company intends use court-ordered discovery to learn the identify of those who sent the emails through its service provider.

'We intend to find out who did it and to stop them from doing it again,' says Loiselle.

The suit seeks $1 million in damages for harm to the company's reputation.

Despite the email address, Loiselle says the company does not know for sure that the information was obtained or distributed by one or current or former employees, although that appears likely.

'In cases like these, it's usually a disgruntled ex-employee,' says Loiselle, adding that more companies are dealing with situations like this these days.