Melissa K. Ventrone: Lawyer with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP

Melissa K. Ventrone

Phone312.821.6105

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Experience & Credentials
 

Practice Areas

  • Crisis Management Data Privacy & Security Insurance & Reinsurance Coverage
     
    Contact InfoTelephone: 312.821.6105
    Fax: 312.704.1522
    http://www.wilsonelser.com/attorneys/melissa_k_ventrone
     
    University Northern Illinois University, B.S., 2000
     
    Law SchoolChicago-Kent College of Law, J.D., 2003
     
    Admitted2003, Illinois; 2005, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
     
    Memberships 

    Memberships & Affiliations

    Association Chicago Bar
    Association Justinian Society
    Illinois State Bar Association
    International Association of Privacy Professionals

     
    MilitaryCaptain, Sergeant and Staff Sergeant, Selected Marine Corps Reserves.
     
    Biography

    Melissa Ventrone, chair of Wilson Elser's Data Privacy & Security practice, focuses on class action privacy litigation, privacy breach response (pre- and post-event), payment card industry (PCI) standards and investigations, and advising clients in identifying, evaluating and managing first- and third-party data privacy and security risks. Melissa has represented numerous clients in litigation and arbitration, including disputes related to privacy, invasion of privacy, contracts, consumer fraud, statutory claims and other matters, using her strong organizational and advocacy skills to obtain the best results for clients.

    Melissa frequently advises clients on compliance with state, federal and international laws and regulations. She leads Wilson Elser's breach response team, quickly bringing lawyers, clients and forensic and breach response vendors together to optimize response time and effectiveness. Melissa has handled numerous breaches for small and large entities, including merchants, financial institutions, medical providers and educational institutions, successfully reducing public and regulatory scrutiny and protecting clients’ reputations.

    Among her many leadership roles, Melissa has served in several key positions in the Marine Corps Reserve, including Company Commander for a 200-person unit, Executive Officer for a 329-person company forward deployed to Afghanistan, and most recently Operations Officer for a 1,000-person motor transport battalion. Melissa is a Major, currently serving as the S-4 Officer for Combat Logistics Regiment 4, Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve. In her free time, Melissa volunteers as an ombudsman for the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, acting as a neutral mediator assisting employers and service members in resolving employment-related disputes.

    Areas of Focus

    Cyber Liability
    Melissa advises a wide range of clients on identifying and managing risks associated with data privacy and security under federal, state and international laws. She drafts and negotiates contractual agreements concerning data use, retention, privacy and security, including cloud computing contracts. Melissa also serves as a first responder for situations involving use or misuse of computers and other devices.

    Melissa counsels clients on a wide range of data security and privacy situations, from small breaches impacting a few hundred people to larger breaches impacting millions. When assisting a client with a potential breach, Melissa and her team of first responders” (breach response teams) - located in offices throughout the United States and with affiliates abroad - are able to quickly mobilize the assets necessary to effectively respond to the breach. Most breaches do not need an extensive response team, but where specific skills and local resources are needed, Wilson Elser's Data Privacy & Security practice members are available. Melissa and her breach response team respond 24/7 to work with a client to preserve evidence determine the scope of the breach accurately and favorably document the breach response effectively craft communications to impacted individuals that meet legal requirements and reflect the company's brand proactively advise on establishing call centers and training staff and devise other methods of protecting impacted individuals from potentially negative outcomes.

    Melissa also has successfully resolved numerous disputes stemming from data breaches through negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation. She has attained considerable success in defending companies facing data security and privacy litigation. Melissa has litigated cases of first impression establishing favorable law, including obtaining summary judgment in a recent class action case alleging damages from the theft of a hard drive.

    As part of her practice, Melissa works with management teams, boards of directors, vendors, outside consultants and other third parties to evaluate and develop action plans to address risks arising from data security and privacy issues. In the context of data breach and cyber preparedness, she works to help ensure the company's policies, procedures and cyber crisis response plans are appropriate. Melissa also runs breach simulation exercises, which are very useful tools for training, testing and enhancing the company's response time in a breach situation. Care in preparing for breaches makes a meaningful difference in a company's ability to respond well, protecting its customers, business partners and reputation. That said, Melissa regularly assists companies that do not have breach response plans in place prior to a breach occurrence. In that context, her experience makes a meaningful difference and helps companies avoid the pitfalls of learning on the job during a live breach situation.

    Awards & Distinctions

    Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, in lieu of second award Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Gold Star, in lieu of fifth award

    Blogs
    Surfs Up: The Wave of High-profile Privacy Class Actions
    July 22, 2014
    The IRS will not flag, identify or otherwise note a SSN that may be subject to identity theft and subsequent tax fraud. Go figure.
    June 10, 2014

    Publications

    Cyber Voluntary Payment Defense Thwarted by Bank Fraud Regulation

    Coverage Issues Raised By Cyber Crisis Events

    October 9, 2014

    As companies, brokers and insurers continue to develop a better understanding of the risks and exposures involved with data breaches, standard insurance portfolios must be reviewed and developed to provide proper protection in the face of state laws and other outside influences.

    California Appellate Court Limits Liability under Californias Medical Confidentiality Act for Disclosure of Medical Information

    Limit on Liability in Disclosure of Medical Information

    Septmber 22, 2014

    The California Third Appellate District recently overturned a lower court's denial of a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit seeking $4 billion in damages under California's Medical Confidentiality Act due to the alleged disclosure of medical records. The Appellate Court specifically held that the mere theft of medical records without any allegations that an unauthorized person viewed these records is insufficient to state a claim.

    Have You Upgraded Your XP Yet?

    Have You Upgraded Your XP Yet?

    July 15, 2014

    In April, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP Professional for embedded systems. As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as the weakest link” and even a single Windows XP computer could provide a potential intruder with a window” into your network environment.

    Google and the Great Divide: U.S. Privacy Rights versus EU Privacy Rights

    Court of Justice: U.S. versus EU Privacy Rights

    June 2, 2014

    On May 13, 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union found that an individual has the right to demand that Google remove links about him that he claimed were old and irrelevant. But which approach is best - the right to be forgotten or the right to know? The right to be forgotten” as currently described by the Court of Justice could create a clash between freedom of speech, which is supported in the United States, and the EU's broader concept of privacy.

    Digital Risk Management

    The Risk Report

    November 2011

    Additional Publications

    Digital Risk Management,” The Risk Report, International Risk Management Institute, November 2011

    Events

    The SEC s Cybersecurity Initiative: What It Means and How to Secure Your Compliance

    Speaking Engagements

    October 21, 2014

    Women Advisors Forum Industry Conference

    Ventrone and Bermudez Lead Interactive Workshop on Trends, Challenges, Products and Loss Management Strategies Associated with Cyber Risk Management

    Speaking Engagements

    October 15, 2014

    Wilson Elser, RGL Forensics, KPMG

    Responding to and Managing a Cyber Attack: A Real Life Scenario, Part I

    Speaking Engagements

    September 11, 2014

    DRI Conference: Data Breach and Privacy Law: Cyber Security Strategies for the Digital Age

    Theories of Civil Liability for Data Security Breach

    Speaking Engagements

    September 11, 2014

    DRI Conference: Data Breach and Privacy Law: Cyber Security Strategies for the Digital Age

    Avoiding Data Breaches: Mission Impossible? Corporate and D&O Exposure

    Seminars/Webinars

    July 1, 2014

    Wilson Elser Lunch Seminar/CLE

    The Time for Cyber Coverage is Now

    Speaking Engagements

    May 14, 2014

    Target Markets Program Administrators Association Mid Year Meeting

    Risk Intelligence: Enterprise Information Security

    Speaking Engagements

    May 12, 2014

    Advisen Insurance Intelligence Cyber Risk Insights Conference

    Business Roundtable on Cyber Liability

    Seminars/Webinars

    November 14, 2012 - 8:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.

    Wilson Elser Breakfast Seminar - Chicago

    Medical Liability & Cyber Liability Insurance Threats/Data Breaches

    Speaking Engagements

    September 11, 2012

    8th Annual National Medical Liability Insurance ExecuSummit

    Cyber Liability from the Front Lines: Frequency, Severity, Volatility, Containment and Risk Management

    Speaking Engagements

    March 26, 2012

    Hospital Insurance Forum Spring Membership Conference

    News

    Business Insurance Queries Melissa Ventrone about Policies on Wearable” Devices

    September 23, 2014

    Melissa Ventrone Quoted on the Impact of a Data Breach

    September 16, 2013

    Chicago Attorneys Lend a Helping Hand at Institute of Women Today

    October 4, 2013

    US Marine Corps Reserves Promotes Melissa Ventrone to Major

    August 12, 2013

    Melissa Ventrone Honored as Grand Marshal of the Memorial Day Parade

    June 3, 2013

    Chicago Lawyer Profiles Wilson Elser Attorney and Marine Corps Captain Melissa Ventrone in its Inspiring Innovators Column

    March 8, 2013

    Wilson Elser Hosts Job/Interview Training Workshop for Military

    October 2012

    Cyber Team Gains Dismissal, Statutory Award and Fees

    April 19, 2012

    Members of Wilson Elser s cyber practice team comprised of Lori Nugent, Joshua Kantrow, Geoffrey Belzer and Melissa Ventrone succeeded in getting a case dismissed with prejudice and won a $10,000 statutory award and attorneys’ fees under Washington State's anti-SLAPP statute.

     
    Reported CasesRepresentative Matters: Cyber Liability Melissa advises a wide range of clients on identifying and managing risks associated with data privacy and security under federal, state and international laws. She drafts and negotiates contractual agreements concerning data use, retention, privacy and security, including cloud computing contracts. Melissa also serves as a first responder for situations involving use or misuse of computers and other devices.e Melissa counsels clients on a wide range of data security and privacy situations, from small breaches impacting a few hundred people to larger breaches impacting millions. When assisting a client with a potential breach, Melissa and her team of first responders (breach response teams) - located in offices throughout the United States and with affiliates abroad - are able to quickly mobilize the assets necessary to effectively respond to the breach. Most breaches do not need an extensive response team, but where specific skills and local resources are needed, Wilson Elser's Data Privacy & Security practice members are available. Melissa and her breach response team respond 24/7 to work with a client to preserve evidence determine the scope of the breach accurately and favorably document the breach response effectively craft communications to impacted individuals that meet legal requirements and reflect the company's brand proactively advise on establishing call centers and training staff and devise other methods of protecting impacted individuals from potentially negative outcomes Melissa also has successfully resolved numerous disputes stemming from data breaches through negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation. She has attained considerable success in defending companies facing data security and privacy litigation. Melissa hase litigated cases of first impression establishing favorable law, including obtaining summary judgment in a recent class action case alleging damages from the theft of a hard drive As part of her practice, Melissa works with management teams, boards of directors, vendors, outside consultants and other third parties to evaluate and develop action plans to address risks arising from data security and privacy issues. In the context of data breach and cyber preparedness, she works to help ensure the company's policies, procedures and cyber crisis response plans are appropriate. Melissa also runs breach simulation exercises, which are very useful tools for training, testing and enhancing the company's response time in a breach situation. Care in preparing for breaches makes a meaningful difference in a company's ability to respond well, protecting its customers, business partners and reputation. That said, Melissa regularly assists companies that do not have breach response plans in place prior to a breach occurrence. In that context, her experience makes a meaningful difference and helps companies avoid the pitfalls of learning on the job during a live breach situation.
     
    ISLN921366117
     

    Documents by this lawyer on Martindale.com

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    EU’s Ruling Not “To Be Forgotten” Anytime Soon
    Melissa K. Ventrone, November 10, 2014
    Last week, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that individuals have the “right to be forgotten.” In other words, individuals have the right to control their data and can ask search engines to remove links to results containing certain information. This ruling has...

    The IRS Will Not Flag, Identify Or Otherwise Note A SSN That May Be Subject To Identity Theft And Subsequent Tax Fraud. Go Figure.
    Melissa K. Ventrone, November 10, 2014
    Nearly every day there’s another news story about another company suffering a data breach, either as a result of a lost or stolen device or because the company was hacked. Talk to any number of knowledgeable attorneys skilled in handling breaches, and each will guide you through a similar...

    California Appellate Court Limits Liability under California’s Medical Confidentiality Act for Disclosure of Medical Information
    Jeremy L. Ross,Ian A. Stewart,Melissa K. Ventrone, October 2, 2014
    In what should be considered a win for the defense, the California Third Appellate Court recently overturned the lower court’s denial of a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit seeking $4 billion in damages under California’s Medical Confidentiality Act (the Act) due to the alleged...

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    Office Information

    Melissa K. Ventrone

    120 N. La Salle Street, 26th Floor
    ChicagoIL 60602-2412




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