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Target Data Breach Case Gets Class Action Status

The class action suit filed against Target by several banks, stemming from a huge data breach in 2013, has been certified with class action status.

Reuters reported Tuesday (Sept. 15) that U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson, ruling in St. Paul, Minnesota, said the banks could bring their claims against the retail giant as a group. As has been widely reported, the breach at Target compromised user data spanning 40 million cards over the holiday shopping season.

[bctt tweet="A judge's ruling says banks can bring their claims against the retail giant Target as a group."]

The judicial ruling — which the newswire stated makes a settlement with the banks ever likelier — was handed down a month after the company agreed to pay about $67 million in a deal struck with Visa to several financial institutions that issue credit cards tied to that network. And earlier in 2015, another settlement for $19 million with payments company MasterCard ultimately was abandoned when a number of banks refused to sign on to the settlement.

Reuters reported that it wasn’t known how many Visa card issuers had accepted the terms of the Visa settlement by the Sept. 4 deadline. Yet, company sources said that the class action does include card issuers who have yet to settle claims.

In a statement, Charles Zimmerman, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs from the banking industry, said that "this important ruling brings financial institutions one step closer to collectively holding Target accountable for its unprecedented data breach." He also said that the aforementioned Visa deal does not reimburse the banks for their losses and was completed without input from the plaintiffs.

In another statement, Carrie Hunt, general counsel for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, said that the granting of class action status "constitutes one important avenue for recovery" for credit unions that were hit by the breach at Target.

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