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Two class action suits filed in Hannaford breach
PORTLAND, Maine (3/21/08)--Two class action lawsuits have been filed against Hannaford Bros., a Maine-based grocery chain whose system was hacked in a data breach that might affect as many as 4.2 million credit and debit cards, many of them with members of credit unions. According to several reports, a Philadelphia law firm, Berger & Montague, filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland. The suit alleges the company was negligent and breached an implied contract in failing to provide adequate security for computer data (Associated Press via Boston Globe, Computerworld March 20). It seeks to recover damages that might be caused to consumers as a result of the breach. A second lawsuit, with similar allegations, was filed in the U.S. District Court in Bangor, Maine, by attorney Samuel Laham Jr. on behalf of Hannaford customers in all the states doing business with the grocer. That suit names Melinda Ryan as lead plaintiff. Hannaford said it has not been served with any court complaints (Computerworld,(mysuncoast.com and SouthCoastToday March 20). Hannaford has 165 stores in New England states plus 106 Sweetbay stores in Florida (News Now March 18, 19 and 20). Several credit unions in New England are already re-issuing cards to members whose accounts may have been compromised and some members have reported fraudulent activity on their accounts. Computerworld noted that credit unions and banks "are getting increasingly antsy about having to shell out tens of thousands of dollars" to pay the costs of notifying their members and customers. It reported on the Maine Credit Union League's warning that the Hannaford breach likely would have a significantly larger impact on the state's credit unions than the TJX Cos. breach (News Now March 19). It also several credit union associations around the U.S. have been pressuring state lawmakers to pass laws requiring retailers hit by data breaches to bear the costs associated with the breaches.
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