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NH residents file class-action suit against Equifax

New Hampshire Sunday News

September 21. 2017 10:00PM
Trading information and the company logo are displayed on a screen where the stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York on Sept. 8, 2017. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

CONCORD — A federal class-action lawsuit has been filed against Equifax after the massive data breach that potentially exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans.

Concord attorney Charles Douglas III filed the lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court against the credit reporting company on behalf of New Hampshire residents Jennifer Greenwald and Cynthia Robbins “and all others similarly situated.”

An estimated 622,000 New Hampshire residents are affected by the data breach, which officials at Equifax discovered in late July but only revealed publicly on Sept. 7.

The lawsuit alleges that the data breach “was a direct result of Equifax’s failure to implement adequate security measures to safeguard consumers’ PII” (personally identifiable information).

As a result, class members have been exposed “to a significant likelihood of fraud, identity theft, and financial harm ... and to a substantial, heightened, and imminent risk of such harm in the near and indefinite future,” it states.

The lawsuit points out that consumers “never asked Equifax to store their data.” And while the company has offered all U.S. consumers free credit protection, the lawsuit says that Greenwald and Robbins “have no interest in enrolling in a credit protection service with the very company that grossly mishandled their PII in the first place.”

The lawsuit accuses Equifax of negligence, violation of the New Hampshire Fair Credit Reporting Act and the state’s Consumer Protection Act; and “willful” and “negligent” violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

It asks the court to certify the class action, and to order Equifax to strengthen its data security systems, engage third-party auditors to conduct security testing and promptly correct any problems discovered. It also seeks damages, restitution and attorneys’ fees.

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