Federal Court Upholds Settlement Requiring Equifax to Pay for Data Breach Affecting Millions

The Eleventh Circuit recently ruled that the $425 million class action settlement arising from the 2017 Equifax data breach, which compromised the personal data of nearly half of all Americans, should move forward. The district court previously approved the settlement in 2020, but it has been stayed pending the appeal. The settlement was supported, by various government agencies including the CFPB, the FTC, and 48 state Attorneys General, but several class members raised objections about the adequacy of the relief. The Eleventh Circuit rejected those objections, and now the settlement will move forward in the lower court. Meanwhile, a related $575 million settlement entered into by Equifax and the FTC, CFPB, and most state Attorneys General in 2019 will allow people affected by the breach to file a claim for expenses occurred between January 2020 and January 2024 as a result of identity theft or fraud related to the breach; people can also be compensated for up to 20 hours of time spent on recovering from the breach. Equifax was also required to pay $125 for each person who claimed they were wronged by the breach, but the company has so far failed to do so. This was one of the largest data breaches in history, and it has revealed the dire need to improve data security in the United States.


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