In the wake of a data breach that compromised the information of 143 million individuals, consumer credit reporting agency Equifax now faces a proposed class-action lawsuit that one firm says could be the largest in U.S. history.
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On Thursday evening, two law firms, OlsenDaines and Geragos & Geragos – the latter is a high-profile celebrity law firm with a roster of clients including singers Chris Brown, Usher and the late Michael Jackson – filed a complaint against Equifax (NYSE:EFX), on behalf of plaintiffs Mary McHill and Brook Reinhard. The plaintiffs are Oregon residents whose information was stored by the agency and hacked by an unauthorized third party. The complaint alleges Equifax was negligent in failing to provide adequate technological safeguards to protect consumer information and that it should have spent more to prevent cyber-attacks, but chose not to.
One of the attorneys with Geragos & Geragos said on Twitter the lawsuit could be the largest “class action in US history.” The same attorney told FOX Business his firm would seek as much as $70 billion in damages on behalf of consumers across the nation.
Equifax did not return FOX Business’ request for comment at the time of publication.
The Atlanta-based credit reporting firm announced on Thursday hackers accessed customer accounts between May and July, including Social Security and driver’s license numbers, as well as other sensitive information. The company said it knew about the breach on July 29. Three Equifax executives sold hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stock between August 1 and August 2, but a spokesman for the company said the executives were not aware of the hack at the time.
On Friday, the stock was down more than 15% and on pace for its biggest decline since 1999.