As our world becomes increasingly digital, thefts are becoming less of the physical breaking-and-entering kind and instead deal with more theft of information. People steal credit card numbers, names, email addresses, home addresses, and all sorts of financial information. This puts those exposed in danger of identity theft, which can create enormous financial hassles by interfering with their taxes and credit ratings.
As digital theft has evolved, security has had to evolve with it. There are always ways of protecting yourself and others, and those who fail to take the necessary measures against hackers can be held accountable in the event that sensitive information is stolen.
Target has had multiple cyber attacks on its system, resulting in the alleged compromise of information of millions of customers. One particularly bad data breach occurred during the holiday season of 2013 and resulted in the theft of credit and debit card information of 40 million customers who shopped at Target between November 27th and December 18th, 2013, the height of the holiday shopping season. In early 2014, Target announced personal information, including email addresses and home mailing addresses, had also been stolen from an additional 70 million to 110 million customers as a result of the data breach.
Dozens of consumer class action lawsuits were filed against Target, alleging it had been negligent in protecting its customers’ financial and personal information. The lawsuits were consolidated into one class action (In re Target Corp. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation), which recently settled for $10 million.
Target continues to deny having done anything wrong, and initially it fought to have the class action lawsuits dismissed. When the judges refused to dismiss the consumer lawsuits, Target opted to enter into settlement agreements with the plaintiffs.
By settling, Target gets to save face by avoiding a conviction from a court and it gets to continue to deny having done anything illegal. As a retail giant, Target can well afford the $10 million, and the settlement lets them avoid the potential for higher fines from the court, should the jury rule against them.
The plaintiffs also benefit from settling by avoiding the possibility of the court ruling against them. They might take less than what they would be awarded if they fought the legal battle to the end, but a settlement gives them the assurance of receiving some compensation. It also usually pays their legal costs and attorneys’ fees.
Both sides get to avoid a long legal battle with the potential to drag on in the courts for months, or even years. The larger the class action lawsuit, the longer the dispute is likely to take. This can be both financially and emotionally draining and most people prefer to avoid the whole mess by settling the lawsuit.
In order to make sure the settlement is fair to both sides, it must be preliminarily approved by a court judge before it can receive final approval from the court. A federal judge has already granted the Target data breach class action settlement preliminary approval and now it just needs final approval before the matter can be considered settled once and for all.
Our Naperville, Illinois consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action data breach, privacy rights, deceptive advertising, predatory lending, unfair debt collection, lemon law and other consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue. Class action lawsuits our law firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to substantial awards totalling over a million dollars to organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center, and local law school consumer programs. The Chicago consumer lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle are proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.
Our Aurora and Elgin consumer attorneys provide assistance in data breach, privacy violation, fair debt collection, consumer fraud and consumer rights cases including in Illinois and throughout the country. You can click here to see a description of the some of the many individual and class-action consumer cases our Chicago consumer lawyers have handled. A video of our lawsuit which helped ensure more fan friendly security at Wrigley Field can be found here. You can contact one of our Carol Stream and St. Charles consumer protection and data breach attorneys who can assist in consumer fraud, consumer rip-off, lemon law, unfair debt collection, predatory lending, wage claims, unpaid overtime and other consumer, or consumer class action cases by filling out the contact form at the side of this blog or by clicking here. You can also call our toll free number at 630-333-0333.