Equifax may soon be the subject of a legal pile-on after a judge ruled this week that a lawsuit against the company can proceed. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s litigation on behalf of the Commonwealth for the Equifax data breach has potential to open the flood gates for other states to get some serious cash.
Judge rules Massachusetts’ data breach case against Equifax can proceed
What makes this case so precedent-setting is the breadth of damages that the judge has allowed, according to Reuters. Spurning Equifax’s argument that no resident can sufficiently prove that their data was actually stolen, Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Salisbury said in an opinion that “the Attorney General, unlike a private litigant … is required only to prove that unfair or deceptive acts or practices took place in trade or commerce; she is not required to prove or quantify resulting economic injury.”
In other words, if things proceed as planned all Massachusetts has to do to win the case is show that the embattled credit-reporting bureau misled consumers. After that it is presumed that some heavy statutory damages can be imposed.
So far, the Massachusetts AG is the only one to sue Equifax, but given the importance of this case, that may change soon. As we have previously reported, people are already taking Equifax to small claims court and winning.
Because this data breach has the potential to cause lasting damage in the coming years, money expert Clark Howard is imploring consumers to protect themselves by doing two things:
Here are 2 ways to protect your credit
- Sign up for a Credit Karma or Credit Sesame account to get free credit monitoring and be notified when anyone tries to access your personal info. Here’s a step-by-step rundown of how to do it.
- Freeze your credit at the three major credit-reporting bureaus. Here’s an in-depth guide on how to contact Equifax, TransUnion and Experian to get your accounts frozen.