Home Depot now facing 21 class-action lawsuits over data breach

ATLANTA -- Lawyers across the country are donning orange aprons to tackle what's shaping up to be one monster of a Home Depot repair project.

At least 21 federal lawsuits have now been filed against the home improvement giant as of Oct. 10 stemming from its recent data breach, a review by Atlanta Business Chronicle found. That's up from about a dozen lawsuits filed as of Sept. 24.

The lawsuits are asking courts to grant them class-action status, meaning that if judges agree they would represent others hurt by the data breach. Because of their number and the fact that they've been filed in courts across the country, the lawsuits are likely to be combined into what's known as "multi-district litigation." At least one motion has already been filed in federal court in Atlanta to combine various lawsuitsover the Home Depot data breach.

Home Depot has not yet responded to any of the lawsuits. The company has asked the federal court in Atlanta to give it until Dec. 15 to answer the allegations of at least some of the lawsuits. Home Depot is scheduled to announce its third quarter results on Nov. 18.

Among the newest lawsuits to be filed is one from the Cattaraugus County School Employees Federal Credit Union, which sued Home Depot on Oct. 9 in federal court in Atlanta.

The allegations are the same as in other lawsuits stemming from the data breach. The New York credit union contends the data breach "easily could have been prevented as Home Depot failed to take adequate and reasonable measures to ensure its data systems were protected, ignored numerous clear warnings that its data systems were outdated and thus vulnerable to attack, and failed to take actions that could have thwarted the breach." The credit union says it and others have suffered, and will continue to suffer, millions of dollars in damages for the cost of replacement cards and covering the cost of fraudulent transactions. "These costs are ongoing, as Plaintiff continues to investigate fraudulent transactions resulting from the data breach that have not yet been reimbursed," it contends in its lawsuit.

In another lawsuit filed Oct. 7 in federal court in California, an Oceanside, Calif., man says he used his Navy Federal Credit Union Visa credit card to purchase goods at a Home Depot store during the period of the data breach. He claims his personal information was compromised in the Home Depot breach, causing him to incur multiple unauthorized charges from overseas that caused his bank to freeze his account. His Visa credit card was declined while attempting to pay for $1500 worth of car repairs.

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