New Castle credit union sues Target for costs associated with data loss

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A New Castle-based credit union, seeking to represent more than 100 other such institutions, has filed a lawsuit against Target Corp. in federal court in Pittsburgh, seeking compensation for costs related to the massive security breach of the retailer's computer system.

First Choice Federal Credit Union echoed in its complaint, filed late Friday, the widely reported loss by the Minneapolis-based retailer of account information, credit card data and passwords of some 110 million customers. According to the complaint, that left First Choice, and other similar financial institutions, with "significant costs associated with, among other things, notifying its members of issues related to the Target Data Breach, closing out and opening new customer accounts, reissuing members' cards, and/or refunding members' losses resulting from the unauthorized use of their accounts."

First Choice alleged that Target's failure to secure data, and to promptly tell customers about the breach, amounted to negligence and violations of two Minnesota laws. The complaint was filed in federal court, rather than at the state level, because it estimated damages of more than $5 million and a class of more than 100 members in many states.

It demanded compensation for losses, attorney fees and "an order enjoining Defendant from any further improper retention of customer data."

A Target spokeswoman declined comment on the lawsuit but said that shoppers "will have zero liability for the cost of any fraudulent charges arising from this breach. They need to continue to watch their accounts and promptly report any fraud to their issuing bank."

Attorneys with North Shore-based Carlson Lynch, Downtown-based Del Sole Cavanaugh Stroyd LLC, and Philadelphia firm Berger & Montague are representing First Choice.

One of the attorneys on the case, Jamisen Etzel, said it's part of "a flurry of cases that have been filed by consumers and banks [against Target] in the past few weeks," but it may be the first to represent "smaller community credit unions."

Rich Lord: or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord. First Published February 3, 2014 8:54 AM

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