Banks Can Sue Target as Group Over Cyber Attack

By Christie Smythe | September 18, 2015

Hundreds of banks and credit unions can band together to pursue damages from Target Corp. over a 2013 hacking attack that compromised as many as 40 million payment cards.

The ruling Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson in St. Paul, Minnesota, marks a setback for Target in trying to resolve the data breach claims. Earlier, the retailer tried to settle the case with help from payment card firms Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc.

A Visa spokeswoman, Sandra Chu, declined to comment on either the ruling or the status of settlement efforts. A spokesman for MasterCard, Seth Eisen, said he didn’t have an immediate comment.

“Target was disappointed by the decision today,” said Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for the Minneapolis-based retailer, in an e-mailed statement. “Once we have had the opportunity to review the judge’s written ruling, we will evaluate our next steps.”

Banks’ Claim

Lawyers for the banks alleged that Target failed to take needed steps to prevent one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history. Banks and credit unions suffered as much as hundreds of millions in damages, the lawyers said.

The case is In re Target Corp. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, 14-md-2522, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (St. Paul).

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