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Class actions over data breach may be successful

The list of companies that have reported customer data breaches is growing, and many consumers in Nevada may be rightly concerned over who has their personal information. Social Security numbers, credit and bank card numbers, birth dates and other information should be kept under the highest security to prevent identity theft. Companies that have been negligent should be held accountable. However, due to the massive numbers of people who have participated in litigation, payouts in the past have frequently been small.

Unlike other class action lawsuits, the cases against Equifax due to its massive data breach may result in a wide range of payouts to millions of people. Rather than a single case, the credit monitoring company is being sued by municipalities, and by state Attorneys General, as well. The payments received may, therefore, depend on the laws where people live and how many of those affected join the lawsuit.

Experts predict that the actions against Equifax are likely to be successful and to take place within a couple of years. Courts are recognizing that people may not have specific economic damages at the time of the breach, but that the theft itself constitutes damages. 

Whether or not the payout is large, the settlement may send a message to the company responsible, and to other companies: It is not acceptable to treat consumers' personal information negligently. A person who is interested in joining a class action lawsuit over a data breach may want to talk to an attorney who has experience navigating this type of complex litigation.

Source: Fortune, "A Surprise in the Equifax Breach: Victims Likely to Get Paid," Jeff John Roberts, Oct. 10, 2017

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