Target in $39.4 Million Settlement With Banks Over Data Breach

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Target in $39.4 Million Settlement With Banks Over Data Breach
Target Corp has agreed to pay $39.4 million (roughly Rs. 263 crores) to resolve claims by banks and credit unions that said they lost money because of the retailer's late 2013 data breach.

The settlement filed on Wednesday resolves class-action claims by lenders seeking to hold Target responsible for their costs to reimburse fraudulent charges and issue new credit and debit cards.

Target has said at least 40 million credit cards were compromised in the breach, and that as many as 110 million people may have suffered the theft of personal information such as email addresses and phone numbers.

The Minneapolis-based retailer has taken steps to avoid a recurrence, including being among the first US retailers to install microchip-enabled card readers at all stores.

Wednesday's settlement calls for Target to pay as much as $20.25 million (roughly Rs. 135 crores) to banks and credit unions, and $19.11 million (roughly Rs. 127 crores) to reimburse MasterCard Inc card issuers.

Target had reached a similar accord with MasterCard in April, but it was rejected the next month when card issuers deemed the sum too low.

The settlement won preliminary approval from US District Judge Paul Magnuson in St. Paul, Minnesota, who called it "fair, reasonable and adequate," court records showed. A hearing on final approval was scheduled for May 10, 2016.

Earlier settlements
Earlier this year, Target agreed to pay Visa Inc card issuers as much as $67 million (roughly Rs. 446 crores) over the breach and reached a $10 million (roughly Rs. 66 crores) settlement with shoppers. The latter accord won court approval last month.

Last week, Target said it has spent $290 million(roughly Rs. 1,935 crores) related to the breach, and expects insurers to reimburse $90 million (roughly Rs. 600 crores). It still faces shareholder lawsuits, as well as probes by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general, over the breach.

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the retailer is "pleased that the process is continuing to move forward."

Bearing the burden
The latest settlement covers all financial institutions that issued payment cards put at risk by the breach, and which did not previously release their claims against Target.

Plaintiffs have included Umpqua Holdings Corp in Roseburg, Oregon; Mutual Bank in Whitman, Massachusetts; Village Bank in St. Francis, Minnesota; CSE Federal Credit Union in Lake Charles, Louisiana; and First Federal Savings of Lorain in Lorain, Ohio.

Trade groups representing banks and credit unions have estimated that their members incurred more than $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,334 crores) of expenses related to the breach.

"Financial institutions should not always have to bear the burden of extensive costs related to merchant data breaches over which they have no control," the plaintiffs' lawyers Charles Zimmerman and Karl Cambronne said in a joint statement.

Target will also pay the plaintiffs' legal fees, pending court approval, and will not appeal any sum of $20 million (roughly Rs. 133 crores) or less, court papers show.

Shares of Target closed down 88 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $71.93 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The case is In re: Target Corporation Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, US District Court, District of Minnesota, No. 14-md-02522.

© Thomson Reuters 2015

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