Did Schnucks wait too long to inform millions of shoppers that they may have had their credit-card information compromised because of a large security breach?
That's the question one attorney and Illinois shopper are raising through a recently filed class-action lawsuit, on view below.
"The key is going to be to determine...when they knew there was a problem and what they did about it," attorney Jeff Millar tells Daily RFT. "If they knew there was a problem on December 10, why wait around until March 30?"
Schnucks officials, however, say the suit has no merit.
As we reported last month, Schnucks, which was founded in St. Louis and operates 100 stores in the region, announced that 2.4 million credit and debit cards used at 79 of its stores may have been impacted by a "cyber attack" between December of last year to the end of March.
The issue has since been resolved, and Schnucks says that it is safe to shop at its stores. Affected customers may have their card-number and expiration date accessed, but not their name, address or any other identifying information, the company says.
Filed last week in the circuit court for St. Clair County, the class-action lawsuit alleges violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act as well as the Illinois Personal Information Act. The suit has been brought forth by Laverne Rippy, a Granite City, Illinois, resident and shopper, and as a class-action suit, is also on behalf of all others impacted. The complaint says:
At all times relevant, [Schnucks] continuously and consistently failed to disclose to consumers...that it in fact did not have adequate systems in place to protect credit and debit card information against any violation or security breaches.
"Schnucks failed to give reasonable notice of the breach of their security," Millar says.
The suit cites the state law saying that "any data collector that owns or licenses personal information concerning an Illinois resident shall notify the resident at no charge that there has been a breach of the security of the system data following discovery or notification of the breach."
On another count, the suit alleges negligence on behalf of the company for not adequately protecting this personal data.
"They negligently failed to maintain their computer system," Millar says. "They had a duty to safeguard that data."
Schnucks, which is facing a separate lawsuit in Missouri, should be served a summons next week, Millar says.
Lori Willis, spokeswoman for Schnucks, tells Daily RFT, "On April 15th, we released the details of this incident, including a very precise timeline. Once you review that information, you will see why we believe this lawsuit has no merit."
Continue for more of Schnucks' response and a copy of the full complaint.
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