SAN DIEGO–(PRNewswire)–Equifax, Inc. got more bad news late Friday night when attorneys at Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP filed a class action complaint against the consumer credit reporting agency in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
With an outstanding record in more than 50 class actions against giant corporations nationwide, the public interest firm filed suit on behalf of San Diego residents Ehud Gersten and Hannah Obradovich and the approximately 143 million other U.S. consumers whose Equifax consumer credit files were hacked in mid-May through July this year.
The Sanford Heisler Sharp team is led by Ed Chapin, managing partner of the San Diego office, Kevin Sharp, managing partner of the Nashville office, and Danielle Fuschetti of the San Francisco office.
“Equifax has irreparably harmed hundreds of millions of American consumers by failing to adequately protect their credit and highly sensitive personal information,” said Chapin.
“Ehud, Hannah and all other consumers in this class trusted Equifax with this information, and the company should have taken adequate measures to keep this information private and confidential,” added Fuschetti. “Equifax also unnecessarily delayed notifying consumers of the data breach.”
The Complaint asserts Equifax learned on July 29 that unauthorized individuals had accessed its database — including the names, social security numbers, addresses and other personally identifiable information of its customers – but did not notify customers about the breach until September 7.
“Equifax has a long history of data breaches going back to 2013,” said Sharp. “The company knew the risks of such breaches, including the damage to consumers inherent in delayed reporting, yet it failed to act to protect millions of Americans.”
A former chief judge for the federal district court in the Middle District of Tennessee, Sharp noted that consumers whose identifying information was released must now personally bear the cost of credit monitoring and other similar services for years to come or place credit freezes or fraud alerts on their files in order to protect themselves from the destructive effects of identity theft.
The complaint also notes that although Equifax took no action to inform consumers of the data breach for over a month, three of the company’s senior executives sold shares worth $1.8 million within days of discovering the massive hack.
The class action seeks actual and statutory damages, equitable relief, restitution, reimbursement of out-of-pocket losses, other compensatory damages, credit monitoring services with identify theft insurance, and injunctive relief – including an order that requires Equifax to improve its data security and eliminate future privacy breaches.
In addition to plaintiffs Gersten and Obradovich, two classes are included in the action. The “nationwide class” comprises all persons residing in the U.S. whose personal data Equifax collected and stored and whose personal information was placed at risk and/or disclosed in the recent breach. The “California class” comprises all persons residing in California in a similar situation.