ATLANTA, Sept. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorney John Yanchunis of Morgan & Morgan filed a class action lawsuit yesterday against Equifax, one of the three largest credit reporting agencies in the U.S., for the data breach that potentially compromised 143 million consumer records. The complaint was filed in the Northern District of Georgia.
Equifax announced on September 7, 2017 that unauthorized users accessed the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers of consumers from mid-may through July 2017. Equifax also admitted that credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers were accessed.
Lead plaintiffs Jamie McGonnigal and Brian Spector accuse Equifax of failing to properly secure and safeguard consumers' personally identifiable information which resulted in criminals obtaining their personal and financial information.
The complaint alleges that not only could Equifax have prevented this data breach—especially considering the warnings raised by the recent data breach of their competitor Experian—but that once discovered, they failed to notify consumers in a timely manner. Equifax acknowledged they discovered a breach had occurred on July 29, 2017, but they failed to announce it to the public until more than a month later.
As a result of the company's negligence and failure to properly safeguard consumers' records, Mr. McGonnigal and Mr. Spector allege their personal and financial information was stolen and they incurred out-of-pocket costs for identity theft protection and unauthorized use of their financial accounts. In addition, they allege the likelihood of impending injuries in the future since criminals have access to their personal and financial information.
Leading Data Breach Attorney Says Equifax Breach is "Shocking"
Class action members are represented by one of the leading data breach attorneys in the country: John Yanchunis. He currently serves as lead counsel in the Yahoo data breach case, one of the largest class actions in history. Previously, he represented consumers in the Home Depot Inc. and Target Corp. data breach cases which settled for $13 million and $10 million respectively.
He has litigated some of the largest data breaches in history, yet when asked about the Equifax breach, John Yanchunis described it as "shocking."
"Equifax contains one of the largest databases of consumer information and they should have been better prepared for any attempt to penetrate its systems," he said.
Three Equifax Managers Sold Stock Prior to Data Breach Announcement
Coinciding with news of the data breach is information that three managers sold their stock in Equifax just prior to the announcement. After learning of these events, Attorney John Yanchunis said the data breach may justify punitive damages.
"Equifax has acknowledged that it discovered the breach on July 29th. What it hasn't explained is why it waited so long to make an announcement that the breach had occurred," he stated.
"The profiteering before the company's announcement is astounding."
Plaintiffs seek statutory damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") and state consumer protection statutes, reimbursement of out-of-pocket losses and other compensatory damages, credit monitoring services beyond Equifax's current two-year offer, and an order requiring Equifax to improve their data security measures.
ClassAction.com is a website sponsored by the national plaintiff's law firm Morgan & Morgan. Always fighting for the people, not the powerful, Morgan & Morgan has recovered more than $5 billion for 200,000 clients. The firm has about 370 attorneys across 40 offices in 11 states. With the support of nearly 2,000 employees, Morgan & Morgan's attorneys represent clients in a wide range of practice areas: national mass torts and class actions, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, labor and employment, mesothelioma, and product liability lawsuits, among others.