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Plaintiffs in TJX breach case denied class action status
BOSTON (12/3/07)--Banks and financial associations suing TJX Cos. because of losses sustained from its huge data breach, which was revealed earlier this year, cannot pursue their claims as a class action, a federal judge ruled Thursday in Boston. Judge William G. Young’s decision in U.S. District Court to deny class certification will not end claims against TJX, which is the parent organization of stores that include TJ Maxx and Marshalls (The Boston Globe Nov. 30). However, the judge’s decision will make it more difficult for plaintiffs to proceed because they will have to pursue claims individually. Some may not believe it’s worth the expense, lawyers said. “We still are studying the court’s decision, but obviously this is not a positive development,” Eric Richard, executive vice president and general counsel for the Credit Union National Association, told News Now. “Based on an initial reading, the decision appears to leave the door open for some possibility that the court may grant class action certification at a future stage of the case. “We will continue to work closely with the law firm litigating the case to clarify this issue and protect the interests of credit unions to the maximum extent possible,” he continued. One suit was filed against TJX by the bankers’ associations for Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine, and four banks. The other suit is a consolidated suit by AmeriFirst Bank against Fifth Third Bancorp, the parent company of TJX card processor Fifth Third Bank. AmeriFirst Bank is also one of the four banks in the TJX suit. The suits allege that TJX improperly retained nonpublic personal information on millions of its customers and failed to protect the data in a reasonable manner. As a result, an intrusion that went undetected for about 18 months compromised at least 47.5 million credit and debit card accounts. Estimates of compromised cards doubled to 94 million in October. Banks and credit unions had to reissue a massive number of payment cards at an estimated cost of $25 each, according to court documents (News Now July 25).
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