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Judge: Customers Can Sue Target Over Breach

A federal judge won't dismiss a customer lawsuit against Target in the wake of the December 2013 data breach that exposed 40 million payment cards and personal details for 70 million customers, Bank Info Security reported.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson dismissed some of the claims made by consumers in the class-action lawsuit, but said "the majority...survive Target's motion" to dismiss, according to a Dec. 18 legal memorandum. The ruling came just weeks after the same judge ruled that a similar lawsuit brought by several banks against Target could also move forward.

Target argued that the customers couldn't establish that they were injured by the breach. Any fraudulent payment card charges are usually reimbursed by the card-issuing bank.

"But plaintiffs have alleged injury," Magnuson wrote, noting that the lawsuit argued customers were injured by unlawful charges on their payment cards, restricted or blocked access to bank accounts, inability to pay other bills and late payment charges or new card fees.

The judge's decision isn't surprising, said attorney Ronald Raether, who isn't involved in the case. Although in the past customers didn't successfully sue because fraudulent charges were reimbursed, "Plaintiffs' counsel has learned through years of experience how to plead a complaint" for breach-related cases and "has learned to plea injury and damages as to the specific plaintiffs," he said.

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