On March 8, 2017, plaintiff financial institutions in the Home Depot Customer Data Breach multidistrict litigation filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a $25 million proposed settlement agreement in the Northern District of Georgia. The proposed settlement represents a possible end to over two years of contentious legal battles stemming from the massive 2014 Home Depot data breach, in which 56 million credit and debit card numbers were compromised.
The settlement agreement itself comes after many failed attempts by defendant Home Depot to have the suit thrown out of court. The home repair giant had previously doggedly argued that the plaintiffs, who are made up of over 50 banks and 17 credit unions, did not support their allegations of injury with any factual evidence of actual financial damages. Home Depot argued that the costs to the financial institutions associated with replacing compromised payment cards, offering bank customers free credit monitoring and investigating potential fraudulent activity is a future hypothetical harm rather than a current cost. However, U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. did not agree with the defendant’s argument and instead held that the plaintiffs did in fact have current monetary damages. Plaintiffs argue that the data breach itself could have been totally avoided had Home Depot implemented more stringent data security practices.
In the proposed settlement agreement, financial institutions that file a valid claim without documentation of their losses can receive $2.00 per compromised card, regardless of any form of compensation that may have been received from another source. Conversely, financial institutions that can provide documented proof of losses can receive up to 60% of the documented, uncompensated losses in addition to the $2.00 per compromised card.
The case is: In Re: The Home Depot Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, Case no.: 1:15-md-02583, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
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