Seattle firm proposes class-action against Target

SEATTLE -- Responding to an massive data breach now affecting as many as 70 million people, a Seattle law firm is taking on Target with a class-action challenge.

The suit filed this week accuses Target of ignoring warnings about the holes in the security of its data collection systems.

"We have a long period of a breach," said Tom Leoser, partner at Hagens Berman. "The penetration was ongoing for that entire period. (Nov. 17, 2013 - Dec. 15, 2013) Why didn't they know about it on Nov. 29th? Why didn't they know about it on Nov. 30th? What monitoring were they doing to see what information was flowing away from their system to unknown sources?"

Loeser says according to his firm's research, Target and other major retailers were given detailed warnings about security weak points as early as 2007, but failed to take appropriate action to protect consumer information.

"The goal of our lawsuit is two-fold: One, it's to genuinely get some form of compensation for people who have clearly been damaged by Target's failure to keep this information secure. And secondly, it's to force Target to make changes to what they do. They could have spent more money and had better security," Loeser explained.

The Hagens Berman lawsuit is among an estimated 50 or more legal petitions proposing class-action against the retailer. Loeser says it's routine for all related class-action petitions to be reviewed by a Multi-District Litigation panel, which determines if class action requests should be certified. Loeser says an MDL panel is expected to meet in San Diego in March to review the Target petitions.

As a matter of policy, Target does not comment on pending litigation. I showed you in a previous report how Target just launched a nationwide email campaign to all Target customers, apologizing for the breach and encourage them to take advantage of the company's offer of free credit monitoring.

Target customers who want the free monitoring must register by April 30, 2014. The attached video clip contains more of my Jan. 16 interview with Loeser about the lawsuit over the Target breach.