Yahoo data breach class action allowed to move forward

A U.S. District Judge says that plaintiffs can sue over compromised personal information

Over one billion Yahoo users whose personal information was compromised due to a series of massive data breaches will get their day in court, according to a ruling passed down by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Wednesday.

Yahoo had previously tried to have the plaintiffs' class action case dismissed on the grounds that they could not specifically show how the breaches had harmed them. While Koh agreed to dismiss some parts of the case, she said that Yahoo’s actions resulted in “alleged risk of future identity theft” and “loss of value of their personal identification information,” according to the Financial Times.

Additionally, Koh said that the plaintiffs are well within their rights to pursue breach of contract and unfair competition charges because they could have closed their accounts if they had known about the data breaches that occurred between 2013 and 2016. Plaintiffs have further alleged that they were forced to pay out-of-pocket expenses for fees and identity protection services as a result of the breaches; Koh stated that these allegations were also sufficient to claim injury.

In her ruling, Koh designated four putative classes covering plaintiffs. They include plaintiffs representing a United States class, an Israel class, a class representing consumers from Australia, Venezuela and Spain, and a Small Business Users class.

The ruling will come as bad news for Verizon, who bought Yahoo’s internet business for $4.5 billion earlier this year and rebranded it as Oath. The company managed to get a $300 million discount on its purchase of Yahoo due to potential liabilities associated with the hacks and has declined to comment on the ruling thus far.  

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