New Group of Customers File Suit Against Yahoo Over Data Breach

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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On February 7, 2017, Yahoo! Inc. was hit with another proposed class action over the data hacking of more than one billion of its subscribers. Named plaintiffs, Matthew and Deana Ridolfo, filed suit in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, claiming that Yahoo subscribers were repeatedly prompted by the company to provide substantial amounts of personal information with reassurances that the information would be protected, only to be told in late 2016 that hackers had twice been able to break into the Yahoo database and steal customer information.

News of the hacks broke after Yahoo made two separate public statements detailing the breaches. The company made the first announcement in September 2016 when they told the public that the personal information of 500 million Yahoo subscribers had been stolen from its database in late 2014. The announcement naturally caused a stir, as it was, at the time, the largest data breach in U.S. history. However, after the first announcement was made, Yahoo informed the public, in December 2016, that data from over one billion subscribers had also been hacked.

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The plaintiffs claim that after learning of the data breach, they discovered that their personal information was used to open several credit cards and to alter their various existing accounts. For example, the plaintiffs claim that hackers altered their phone account to divert incoming calls intended for their home line to another location. In order to cope with the damage the breach has caused them, the couple has begun to pay for a privacy protection service to monitor and freeze their credit. Plaintiffs argue that Yahoo could have prevented substantial damage if the company had taken action when it first learned of the hacks in July 2016. Further, they argue that the defendant’s subscriber security procedures are insufficient, and had they known the true nature of the company’s vulnerability to cyber attacks, they would not have entrusted Yahoo with such sensitive personal information. 

The plaintiffs’ proposed class action comes just after five punitive class actions against Yahoo over the data breach were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of California under Judge Lucy Koh.

The suits are: In Re: Yahoo! Inc. Customer Security Breach Litigation, Case No.: 5:16-md-02752 

Matthew and Deana Ridolfo v. Yahoo! Inc., Case No.: 3:17-cv-00619

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