Deadline Nears for Credit Unions to Join Class Action Suit Against Home Depot

The Home Depot Data Breach Survey mesasured the impact on credit unions. You can see the results online.

Credit unions that wish to join the class action lawsuit against Home Depot must be identified and evaluated before the May 15 deadline for inclusion. The suit will seek recovery and injunctive relief associated with a massive data breach at the giant retail outlet in September 2014. 

Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the class action case are looking for a named plaintiff from each state, and are sending letters to some Northwest credit unions urging their participation. You can see a sample of one of these letters by clicking here.

John Trull, the NWCUA’s assistant vice president of regulatory advocacy, said that there are reasons that credit unions might choose either to join or not to join the case as a plaintiff, including:

Reasons to join

  • Should the class be successful, named plaintiffs would likely receive a larger share of the award due to the time and effort that they put in, along with actual damages.
  • This is an opportunity to be part of an important dialogue that will shape the policy conversation about accountability for years to come.
  • Attorneys are working on a contingency basis and will only be paid should the class prevail.

Reasons not to join

  • A credit union does not have to participate in the class action to be eligible for awards should the class prevail, and numerous cases similar to this have been tried before and none have been successful.
  • Lead plaintiffs will likely have to provide a lot of information during discovery, demonstrating exactly how the fraud negatively impacted the credit union.
  • A plaintiff will likely need to make someone available to participate on calls and available for deposition, which might be taken by phone or could require travel to Georgia depending on the judge.

“If the court grants injunctive relief to the credit unions and other stakeholders on the plaintiffs’ side, it would likely force Home Depot to improve its data security standards,” said Trull. “This would be a big step forward as we continue to lobby for better data security for all merchants.”

CUNA announced Wednesday that it will join credit unions and other financial institutions nationwide as a plaintiff in that lawsuit. However, CUNA emphasizes its participation should not discourage any credit union or state credit union league from participating as well, as credit union participation remains vitally important.  

“CUNA is pursuing every possible avenue to get merchants to raise their data security standards to protect consumers and card-issuing credit unions. We decided participation in this legal action is another route we can take to support our efforts,” according to Susan Parisi, CUNA chief counsel. 

Atlanta-based Home Depot admitted that 56 million credit and debit cards were compromised after cybercriminals infiltrated its payment systems, costing credit unions alone nearly $60 million, according to data compiled by CUNA. 

For more information on the suit and to further discuss the pros and cons of joining, please contact John Trull at 503.350.2209 or jtrull@nwcua.org.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in CUNA.