While many Americans are now freezing their credit accounts and keeping their finances under a more watchful eye, two Oregon residents, Mary McHill and Brook Reinhard took matters into their own hands. On Thursday, law firms Geragos & Geragos and OlsenDaines teamed up to file a complaint that may lead to the biggest class action suit in American history on behalf of the two Oregon residents, but to the benefit of Americans across the nation.
Biggest Class Action in History
The lawsuit, said to reach up to $70 billion, will be based on proving that Equifax was negligent when it came to protecting the personal data of Americans. It’s obvious that someone dropped the ball, as there weren’t enough protective measures in place to prevent the data of 143 million people being exposed. But, there may be more than that to it, and if so, the lawsuit could reach even higher aspirations.
The breach occurred between May and July of 2017, and Equifax has known about it since July 29th. Yet, the public was not informed until September. On top of the delay in informing the public is the disquieting dumping of stocks by two top executives of Equifax.
They sold their stocks on August 1st and August 2nd, but Equifax asserts that it had nothing to do with the data breach. With Equifax stocks currently tanking faster than politicians spend money, it’s hard to believe there wasn’t some inside scoop that drove the executives to dump their stocks.
What Americans Can Do
As far as the lawsuit goes, there isn’t much Americans can do right now but wait. But, you can freeze your credit and be extra careful with your finances. When a class action like this takes place, its results are publicized and open to adding represented names. That means the law firms will either gather the names from Equifax itself, or give Americans a chance to add their own. Either way, we’ll keep you updated.
But, don’t get too excited just yet. With 143 million people involved, the class action isn’t bound to result in significant payouts across the board. However, since Americans tend to be at the mercy of credit bureaus whether they like it or not, there may be some satisfaction to be had from forcing one of them to be held as accountable for their actions as every American is held accountable for their financial decisions. Equifax could have poured money into data protection, as they should have. But, they chose to make an unwise financial decision and pour their money into something else. This may not only be the largest class action lawsuit in America, but the most ironic one as well.