Judge rejects motion to dismiss Target data breach class action

Posted on: February 12th, 2015 by Steve Larson

targetFederal Judge Paul Magnuson in Minnesota rejected a motion to dismiss in the Target data breach lawsuit.  The lawsuit seeks damages on behalf of Target customers that were harmed by a data breach that occurred from November 27 to December 15, 2013.  The complaint alleges that the data breach made class members personal information vulnerable. Approximately 110 million Target customers may have been affected by the data breach.

Judge Paul A. Magnuson ruled that the class action could proceed, although some of the claims made against Target were dismissed.  Magnuson wrote in the 46-page opinion that the data breach was “one of the largest breaches of payment-card security in United States retail history.” The lawsuits were filed by consumers who used either their credit or debit cards at Target during the weeks in question and whose personal information was compromised.

One hundred and fourteen plaintiffs have been named in the lawsuit so far, alleging they incurred unauthorized charges, lost access to their accounts, and/or had to pay fees including card-replacement fees and costs associated with credit monitoring because of compromised personal financial information. Lawsuits have also been filed by financial institutions affected by the data breach.

In filing a motion to dismiss the consumers’ complaints, Target argued that the plaintiffs could not show they were injured. The judge ruled, however, that the plaintiffs alleged injury – including unlawful charges and inability to pay other bills. Target’s arguments “gloss over the actual allegations made and set a too-high standard for Plaintiffs to meet at the motion-to-dismiss stage,” the judge wrote, finding that the plaintiffs had made plausible allegations that could be reasonably traced to Target’s conduct, which is enough to allow the lawsuit to proceed at this stage.  The judge dismissed a claim of breach of contract against Target.

The Target lawsuit is In re: Target Corporation Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, MDL No. 14-2522, in US District Court, District of Minnesota.