A class action suit against Target involving a well-publicized security breach was filed in federal court in East St. Louis a day after the retailer announced that up to 40 million consumers’ credit and debit cards had been compromised.

St. Louis attorney John Driscoll filed the case Dec. 19 on behalf of plaintiffs from Millstadt, Mascoutah and Florissant, Mo. who seek to represent a class described as:

- All persons who shopped at Target whose personal information was subject to Target’s security failures and who suffered damages in the loss of time and use of their credit and debit cards until such time as replacement cards could be obtained.

- All persons who shopped at Target who suffered damages in the amount of fraudulent charges or unauthorized withdrawals made to their credit and/or debit cards or suffered damages in the amount of overdraft charges made to their credit and/or debit cards.

- All persons who shopped at Target whose personal information was subject to Target’s security failures and who have suffered or anticipate suffering damages, loss, and/or expenses.

Target announced on Dec. 18 that customer card information had been compromised between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, with the result that personal information was used or was at risk of use in fraudulent transactions around the world.

The lawsuit claims that Target failed to notify plaintiffs and the putative classes in a timely manner and failed to take other reasonable steps to inform them of the nature and extent of the breach.

“…[T] the security breach and theft of Personal Information was caused by Target’s violations of its obligations to abide by the best practices and industry standards concerning the security of its payment processing systems and the computers associated therewith as set forth, for example, in Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council Data Security Standards (“PCI DSS”) and the decisions of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) concerning protection of consumer financial information,” the suit states.

Plaintiff Lisa Gerber of Florissant claims that approximately $600-700 was withdrawn from her bank account after having used her debit card at a Cave Springs, Mo. store on Dec. 14. She further claims that she lost use of her bank account during a period of time when her card was frozen and that her damages are ongoing.

Plaintiff Jonathan Switzer of Millstadt claims he suffered losses in an amount yet to be completely determined after having used his debit card at a store in Belleville on Dec. 9.

Plaintiff Sharon Bartosiak of Mascoutah also claims she suffered undetermined damages after having used a debit card at a store in Shiloh on Dec. 2.

The lawsuit claims that plaintiffs and class members are subject to continuing damages such as: out-of-pocket expenses incurred to mitigate the increased risk of identity theft and or fraud; credit, debit, and financial monitoring to prevent and/or mitigate theft, identity theft, and/or fraud; the value of their time and resources spent mitigating the identity theft and/or fraud; the cost of and time spent replacing credit cards and debit cards and reconfiguring automatic payment programs with other merchants related to the compromised cards; and irrecoverable financial losses due to unauthorized charges on the credit/debit cards of Target customers by identity thieves who wrongfully gained access to their personal information.

Causes of actions listed in the complaint include violations of the federal Stored Communications Act, negligence, breach of implied contract, violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and violations of the Illinois Personal Information Protection Act.

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