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Emily Welker, Published January 15 2014

Fargo customers file lawsuit against Target; suit one of many filed in wake of data leak

FARGO – A lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court here seeks class action status and damages from Target Corp. on behalf of what it says could be thousands of North Dakota shoppers whose personal and financial information were stolen by hackers in the retailer’s recent security breach.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court by Alissa Farol and Frances Lundblad, claims that the losses suffered by North Dakota consumers are likely to be more than $5 million – the minimum damages required for certain types of federal class-action lawsuits.

The lawsuit says both North Dakota women used credit or debit cards at the Target store in Fargo between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

It alleges the company was negligent in storing the customers’ information instead of destroying it in a timely manner, and that Target should have known there were security vulnerabilities in its computer network.

The lawsuit also claims the hackers may have gained shoppers’ checking account information, their driver’s license numbers and the Social Security numbers on the licenses.

The information grab leaves the class of customers open to fraud and identity theft, the lawsuit claims. It also states Target failed to disclose the breach or to take action fast enough to fix it.

The suit asks for restitution and damages, as well as penalties to be awarded against the company.

Target announced Dec. 19 that it was hit by a security breach that compromised 40 million card holders’ names, card numbers and three-digit security numbers. The Minneapolis-based retailer later confirmed that customer’s PIN numbers were also stolen.

Target announced last week 70 million customers may have been caught up in the information scoop, which included their names, phone numbers and email addresses.

The North Dakota lawsuit is the latest in a string of at least a dozen lawsuits against Target filed by banks and consumers across the nation.

Todd Miller, of the Fargo-based law firm Solberg Stewart Miller, said he urges anyone who believes they may have had their data stolen to contact their credit-card companies, banks and local police department to file a report about potential identity theft.

Target officials could not be reached for comment immediately Wednesday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541