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Consumers get go-ahead in lawsuit against Target in data breach


Consumers affected by the Target data breach last holiday season can go ahead with lawsuits against the Minnesota-based retailer.

Target's request to dismiss the cases was denied Thursday. Federal Judge Paul Magnuson ruled against Target's argument that consumers didn't show real injury, the Pioneer Press reports.

Target reimbursed customers for fraudulent charges after the data breach, but 114 named plaintiffs had experienced more hassles, the Star Tribune reports.

"Target contends that (consumer) Plaintiffs' claimed injuries are not actual or imminent, and as such do not suffice to give them standing to sue," Magnuson wrote in his ruling. "But Plaintiffs have alleged injury ... including unlawful charges, restricted or blocked access to bank accounts, inability to pay other bills and late payment charges or new card fees. Target ignores much of what is pled."

Consumers believe Target "violated state consumer-protection laws, violated data-breach laws and was negligent in safeguarding its customers' data," the Pioneer Press states.

The trial won't start until 2016, but the ruling propels the consumer cases forward. It also has not yet been certified as a class-action lawsuit.

About 140 lawsuits have been filed so far in connection with the data breach. Magnuson has grouped the suits into those filed by banks, consumers and shareholders. Banks got the green light earlier this month on its lawsuit.

Target did get some favorable rulings Thursday, which involved claims from consumers in states with data-breach notification laws, and consumers in states where certain types of class-action lawsuits or negligence claims are prohibited.

Personal data was stolen from consumers in November and December 2013, which affected an estimated 110 million Target shoppers. Authorities suspect foreign gangs are behind the breach - one of the biggest data breaches in U.S. history.

Bloomberg reports other retail corporations are also facing lawsuits after data breaches. The list includes Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Michaels and Neiman Marcus.

Target declined to comment to media outlets since legal action is pending.

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