Earlier this week a judge certified a class-action lawsuit against Target, aiming to make the retailer pay for its huge data breach. Reuters reports that the judge ruled that the banks involved can now pursue their lawsuit against Target as a group, which strengthens their chances of a settlement.
Back in August, financial groups that issue Visa cards settled a case individually with Target for up to $67 million. According to the report, it’s not clear how many card issuers agreed to that settlement by the Sept. 4 deadline, and would then be unqualified for the possible Target settlement. And earlier this year a case with MasterCard was in progress, but the $19 million settlement failed because not enough banks accepted the agreement.
The prospect of a large payout is just the latest step in a story that has been unraveling since late 2013, when the breach occurred. Seventy million Target customers, and at least 40 million credit cards, had information compromised in the hack which lead to the CEO’s resignation.
A counsel for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions said the judge’s decision is an “important avenue” for credit unions to fully recover from the data breach. The Target spokeswoman quoted in the Reuters report said the company is, not shockingly, "disappointed" by the direction the case is taking. As a class-action lawsuit now hangs over the retailer, they had better get their next steps ready quickly.