According to court documents filed in the lawsuit, the Home Depot data breach allowed hackers to access information of up to 56 million Home Depot customers between April 1, 2014 and September 18, 2014. Lawsuits were filed by consumers and financial institutions affected by the data breach. Those lawsuits were consolidated for pretrial proceedings before Judge Thomas W. Thrash, who has reportedly split the action into two groups, one for consumer lawsuits and one for financial institution lawsuits.
The consumer lawsuit alleges Home Depot management was complacent and willfully dismissive about securing customer data.
“Not withstanding the warnings and pleas of many of its employees who recognized the vulnerability of millions of customers’ sensitive information stored in Home Depot’s systems, Home Depot management refused to upgrade its security systems, refused to follow recommendations of information technology (“IT”) employees and experts, and suffered from ineffective leadership in key IT security positions within the organization,” the lawsuit alleges.
Plaintiffs claim that Home Depot did not take adequate and reasonable measures to ensure information was protected; did not take available steps to prevent the breach; did not disclose the lack of proper practices to customers; and did not warn customers about the data breach in a timely manner.
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The lawsuit also alleges that although Home Depot offered free credit monitoring for customers affected by the data breach, many customers were not made aware of the breach. Meanwhile, credit monitoring is, according to the lawsuit, of very little value in preventing fraud. The most credit monitoring can do is alert the affected consumer after the fraud has occurred. In other words, credit monitoring can only tell a consumer that a fraudulent credit account has been opened, but it cannot prevent the account from being opened in the first place.
The lawsuit is In re: The Home Depot, Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, Case No. 2583.