Posted by Chuck on September 8, 2017
Class Action Lawsuits

Published on September 8th, 2017 | by Chuck

102

If Equifax Settles the Class Lawsuit for $70B, How Much Will You Get? $489 (or not)

Equifax was hit with a massive data breach that affected up to 143 million American’s. Bloomberg reports that a class lawsuit is already being prepared against Equifax, for up to $70 Billion. A couple of people from Oregon retained hotshot lawyers to litigate/settle the case.

Equifax knew and should have known that failure to maintain adequate technological safeguards would eventually result in a massive data breach. Equifax could have and should have substantially increased the amount of money it spent to protect against cyber-attacks but chose not to.

So if there were 143M people affected, and they settle for $70B, we’ll each get $489.50, right (70,000,000,000 ÷ 143,000,000)? At least that would be a silver lining, no?

No, not at all. For three reasons, we won’t be walking away with that amount of money:

  • First, this is just a number being thrown out by the lawyers. In all likelihood it won’t materialize.
  • Second, presumably, the $70B includes the lawyer fees and other costs. I’m not sure how much to knock off for that, but probably a significant amount.
  • Finally, Equifax only has assets of around $6B and market cap of around $17B, so I don’t see how they’ll actually be paying that amount, even if the court would obligate them. Company would bankrupt before that point.

It’s interesting that a couple of people jumped to file the class lawsuit. I assume their thinking is that they’ll be eligible for more compensation as is typically the case with class settlements that the official plaintiffs get more. In this case it seems a bit odd since they weren’t whistleblowers of any sort, just names on the paper.

Important note: it’s already been discussed that if you sign up for the one-year free Equifax credit monitoring offer, you might lose out on your right to any class settlement, so I’d hold off on that for now. I imagine they’ll take that clause out eventually after the uproar.

In conclusion, let me just make clear that I am no more knowledgeable about class lawsuits than anyone else, but it’s fun to talk about! Chime in below if you know more.



102 Responses to If Equifax Settles the Class Lawsuit for $70B, How Much Will You Get? $489 (or not)

  1. Grace says:

    Hey, just wanted to point out a little typographical error to keep this site looking professional! First paragraph you’ve got ” $143M American’s” which I can only imagine should read “143M Americans”. Could cause some confusion, so I just wanted to make sure it got fixed up!

    Thanks for all your hard work on the site!

    • Amethyst Storey says:

      Just wanted to point out that you are not losing out on your right to be part of a class action lawsuit due to signing up for credit protection.

      https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com

      They have this posted which states: “2). NO WAIVER OF RIGHTS FOR THIS CYBER SECURITY INCIDENT
      In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident.”

      It’s about halfway down the page and listed as number 2.

      • Kathie Wisdom says:

        I am paying another company – why would I trust Equifax to monitor my credit profile when they are the ones that breached it. I want my money back for paying Experian a monthly charge to watch my credit reports. Not fair – they get to collect your information – breach it and expect us to waive rights or pay for credit monitoring. I now have a new bill each month because of them and would of rather use that money for something else – anything else. Equifax should pay for the other company’s monitoring I signed up for because of their breach – only reason I have new payment. Not fair

    • Rhonda Davis says:

      How can someone file a claim against EQUIFAX? Is there a website that has forms to do online?

      • CMena says:

        Check Legalist.com, if approved they’ll pay for your filing fees, and want their cut of about 30%…Sue for the maximum allowed $25K in my state.

  2. Andre says:

    Does anyone knows if I enroll in the TrustedID Premier, will I still be entitled for the potential class action settlement compensation?

  3. JT says:

    So at this point it would seem I should just lie low and wait for things to develop? Not sure, of course, if my info was in the breach.

  4. Ted says:

    I would like to represent the class too. More $$$

  5. Flame says:

    Agree – this is an outrageous number. Equifax would just go under. $500m – $2b(worst case) is my estimate.

  6. esdot says:

    I defend companies from class action lawsuits. The attorneys’ fees for settlements typically can be expected to be 25% to 33%. I would think that the “couple of people [who] jumped” were the attorneys, not the named plaintiffs. This also is typical for class litigation. Much like how all consumers pay for credit card rewards, all consumers pay for these attorneys’ fees.

    • Chucks says:

      “Much like how all consumers pay for credit card rewards, all consumers pay for these attorneys’ fees.”

      Sure, but what’s the alternative? I’m not going to pay a lawyer to go to court for my theoretical $100 in perceived damages.

      • esdot says:

        I’m not saying that there is a good alternative. I’m just explaining that class action litigation, in these cases, is not a pro-consumer alternative.

        For example, Target had a data breach affecting 110 million consumers. The settlement granted final approval in Dec. 2015 provided attorneys with $6.75M in fees and provided a $10M fund for consumers. To receive a payment of up to $10,000, individuals could submit documentation of actual losses. Without documentation, individuals would receive a share of the remainder of the $10M, if any, existing after paying out documented losses.

        In other words, if you had suffered actual losses, your claim was capped at $10k. If you had not suffered actual losses, the most you could receive was $0.09 (when assuming nobody else had documentation of actual loss).

        The attorneys enjoyed their $6.75M. Target enjoyed the fact that everyone who actually suffered documented losses was capped at $10,000 and those who did not submit claims or discovered losses after the claims period released their claims.

  7. P says:

    I look forward to my ~$.75

    • Josh M says:

      Honestly, I don’t care how much the payout is as long as Equifax gets rolled over big time here, they really screwed the pooch.

    • MoreSun says:

      I don’t think we’ll get that much! The way I see it by the end we’ll each be entitled less than one cent, which is unreceivable, and therefore will be retained by the lawyers.

    • chaseaholic says:

      wow $0.75 so generous! 😛

      someone on reddit tossed out $5 which I think is still probably too high.

      I do hope they get taken to the cleaners though even if we get next to nothing because they really did screw the pooch here. The data for basically every adult American…

      Though I suppose most of the typical readers on this site aren’t the ones who are going to get their identity stolen as we’d be too quick to respond.

      I think the real payday for the crooks (the thiefs, not EQ) is the poor people in the ~500-650 range who don’t manage their credit much and struggle to make ends meet.

      • Mark says:

        Not just adult Americans. A lot of people don’t think to protect their children’s information but they’re just as vulnerable if not more so because no one thinks to look at their security but it happens.

  8. Sam says:

    I don’t mind getting my name added as a plaintiff.. Are there any hotshot lawyers interested ?

  9. JP says:

    I’m guessing they will manage to get it under 85 million. And that’s generous estimate.

  10. Flame says:

    Equifax should offer free insurance for next 5-10 years to the folks affected for id theft – Seems fair for them to do it.

  11. this reminds me a lot of the Volkswagen fall out…after awhile I eventually got some cash, but it took awhile. Lets wait till the smoke settles on this and see what happens. We also have an administration that doesn’t give a doody about the consumer and hence, they will decide at the end what really happens to them, if anything.

    • Joe W says:

      Not if his information is affected too. I can imagine a lot of people want to buy his information and open up a casino lol.

      In seriousness, i don’t expect consumer will get anything good out of this. Just keep checking my credit info and possibly freeze my credit until i really need it.

    • Sam says:

      Wasn’t the previous administration the one that implemented the plan to use government funds for corporate bailouts so that all those who took big risks and lost (a possible outcome in a capitalist society) faced lesser consequences and continued collecting ungodly compensation just a short while after the crisis (funny how government power can be abused to favor the wealthy and political elite)? Meanwhile the stock market soared under ZIRP while the average Joe was left with years of stagnant wages and shiny new healthcare plans that all of sudden costed 2x/3x as much as before. Really miss those politicians who looked out for the “consumer”

      • rick says:

        Actually it was largely the previous PREVIOUS administration (Bush #43) that “implemented the plan” to which you refer… that was in summer/fall of ’07; well before Obama took office.

        This whining sounds like someone probably missed out on the stock market rally

        But, back to the point of the post– if Equifax has to take a $70 billion hit, that’s the end of Equifax. We’re not getting any class action money.

        More likely they’ll settle for a few million and be done with it, and as mentioned by others, the lawyers will keep most of the cash and we’ll get little or nothing.

        Bottom line… pay attention to your bank and credit card statements, and you’ll probably be fine. And given that, you have no real claim against EQ– including as a member of a clas– because you have no damages.

        • David says:

          That’s BS. People that have worked and saved all their life, especially those who spent most of their lives before these credit report companies dictated who should and should not be credit worthy, are now exposed to hackers having their most private and critical information and potentially having their lifes saving taken. The stress and duress resulting from EquiFax incompetence and/or greed is real. EquiFax and the other credit data companies have the capability to ruin your life but take none of the responsibility when they screw up. Instead they offer a year of “free” service that they will charge you for on the 366nd day of coverage if you forget to end it. If you end the service, you stolen information is still out there,so you’re still screwed.

          • Rick says:

            I mostly agree with you. But the problem is that “stress and duress” is difficult to quantify. If I’m missing $100 from my bank account, then sure, courts should force the bank/CRA/whomever to make me whole by giving me my $100 back.

            The unfortunate reality is that our legal system is not really designed to handle this; especially not in any way that would benefit a consumer.

            Also I would argue that your statement that data “are now exposed to hackers” is generally irrelevant. Ever since anyone put any piece of information in a computer (or for that matter, even wrote it down), the potential for “hacking” has always existed.

            I agree that EQ screwed up. Those with quantifiable damages should be compensated. But the fact that their inadequate security practices “stressed someone out” or “hurt your feelings” is not really grounds for compensation.

        • Sam says:

          Actually you are also incorrect, the Bush administration was responsible for forming TARP and developing a framework, but the implementation and distribution of funds was done almost completely under the Obama admin and democratic controlled House/Senate…that was a very complicated time so I get why you may be confused by what actually happened, and to some degree its all semantics, because my point is that there doesnt exist a political party that protects the “consumer”, unless by protect the consumer you mean take action to redistribute wealth

          • GoodMXguy says:

            Wrong. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has done a lot to protect consumers. The GOP wants to get rid of it, but cannot because the agency is too popular.

      • Dennis Siebert says:

        He’s just a typical liberal, blame Trump for anything and everything, as is always the case.

  12. Matthew Taylor says:

    They might have significant insurance.

    I mean $70B is high no matter what, but there may be a possibility for a bigger settlement than you’d think.

    • Chuck says:

      Interesting, I didn’t think of that. Wonder if there is insurance for this kind of thing.

      • GWBlueBlueBlue says:

        There is. I work in civil ligation. Corporations and their officers carry insurance for instances exactly like this.

    • Gary says:

      Which insurance company or conglomerate can handle a $70B suit? If I’m not mistaken, this would be by far the biggest suit in history. 70B is an absurd number that’ll never happen.

      • Peter says:

        Absurd? Look at the number of people involved and the personal information they let out. Yes, they let out because of inadequate cyber protection. They should be shut down.

        • Peter (too) says:

          I second that motion. The only solution to their lack of responsibility and cavalier attitude toward the issue is to shut them down and prevent their incompetent principles from ever doing business in the financial field again. But, let’s face it, that won’t happen.

  13. Paulo says:

    Ok…489 each…so lets imagine
    If an average Joe …get someone’s data..put it for sale on dark net and gets caught…his punishment…for all the damage he can cause is 489 dlrs….
    How stupid is that…how much protection these huge ” money makers”…with private…confident information was supposed to be unreachable…is stolen…they make money with your personal and a whole life information…they screw but they don’t pay…
    Your life turn up side down…now what?
    Don’t worry…489 dlrs are on the way…or not.

  14. Pijanec Ordiner says:

    Man, their crappy website says “based on the info, you are impacted” to whatever random stuff you enter there. Just check for yourself guys.
    Get the word out there.

  15. Andrew says:

    Imo, dont signup for the credit monitoring until they remove that clause.

    If your info was impacted, freeze your credit for 90 days. Annoying, yes, but necessary.

    Check your report NOW and file taxes ASAP

  16. tom says:

    experian.com/ scan is the same.like phishing in reverse.sign.up to do a deep web scan is for your email only.but u check the “report” and its to sell the real scan for ssn name credit etc. internet suks. equifux ant credir reporting 3 company monopoly, i mean not too tough to get brute force and new” wave “attacks.in. the electronic bubble we liv in now burst w this breach. there are new rules for credit scoring on how much credit u hav but dont use. freeze your ssn and the credit companies have to come to u. check it out. beverified.gov i think is the site. b smart and dont panic about it.your ssn is the key to the info

  17. tom says:

    given bad info disregard this site https://myeverify.uscis.gov/index.html

  18. Adam Lenard says:

    I’m curious : in this situation, would a fraud report be better to ask for than a freeze ? Especially for people on this site that may churn cards , unlocking/relocking a freeze could get very expensive very quickly . Options ? Do you need to meet specific requirements to get a fraud alert put on ?

  19. ender says:

    An idea on how to deal with this, you could move and/or change your legal name lol.

  20. Dan says:

    Just a little refresher course for how class action lawsuits like this work: The lawyers file a lawsuit for $70B, three years later they settle for $300M, the lawyers take their 1/3 cut and laugh all the way to the bank, and all those affected get your choice of pocket lint, a small McDonald’s french fry, or a free credit report from Equifax.

  21. John says:

    I have been paying Equifax for the past 11 years to monitor my credit monthly. On September 1, I got my pretty much normal email from them –
    “No news is good news, there have been no changes to your credit report.” You think they just forgot to mention this crap?

  22. Terry Moirehouse says:

    My credit was breached on two bank accounts and several credit cards. It caused me big hassles and when I asked each and every bank and credit card why this happened, none had an answer for me! And funny, they hit me during May thru July.

  23. ChurNick says:

    How about instead of $$, they reset our 5/24 status and set our recent inquiries to 0.

  24. kashmoney says:

    Hey Doc,

    Will you be writing a blog post on how to freeze your credit or other pro-active steps people should be taking…like enacting the two factor authentication on all accounts… to prevent password resets..etc… that would be good topic based on this situation

  25. Arbaday says:

    Heh goin send mail to equalfax and make him send me $498 cash money check to my house because they stole me

  26. Arbaday says:

    When do I get my money lol

  27. Jab says:

    People seem to concerned about their credit lock but forget other important issue – current accounts. If one has your social security and other info they can call a bank and do harmful things

  28. John s says:

    I just hope they get smart and extend the protection to free for 20+ years or so.

  29. LawyersSuck says:

    That is why i hate attorneys, goddamn money diggers…..all should be sent to Cuba and Key West right now, free flight for all these greedy Dastards

  30. Compensation says:

    It seems I may have been impacted by this breach:

    “Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident”

    How do I join the class action suit?

  31. parkdanil says:

    Is the class action the only way to go with this? I mean, can I sue them in small claims court for a better payout. I’m not too familiar with class actions.

  32. Genesys says:

    Equifax’s “solutions” are a total joke too.

    * Their website to check is broken…you can literally enter just about any information and it says you’re affected.
    * Their tools to freeze your credit…the PIN is the timestamp of when you froze it.
    * Their recommendation for protection is to give them more information (which could later get stolen) so they can give you free credit monitoring. They should’ve offered a third party product for the monitoring if anything.

  33. DARKLORD says:

    I hope someone stole my credit rating…they can have that POS..I have some of the worst credit you can have…please try to use it or my SSN…they both suck LMFAO.

  34. Peter says:

    As a Canadian citizen who is SICK AND TIRED of the BANKS+CREDIT-SCORE RACKET I believe this is the last straw. The Credit rating system together with the history of Canadian banks’ secret bailout of 2008 + Enron scandal now make the entire system DEFUNCT. In other words. NO CANADIAN BANK OR INSTITUTION CAN NOW REQUEST ANYBODY’S CREDIT SCORE OR USE IT AGAINST A PERSON!

    I believe the ‘powers’ know this and are deflecting the attention in the wrong direction of a USELESS class action suit! What we need is a NEW SYSTEM owned and controlled by the government and states/provinces.

  35. Peter says:

    Tol all who are worried about your credit being stolen. IT IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE BANKS, CREDIT AGENCIES AND THE POLITICIANS WHO SUPPORT/GAIN FROM IT. In other words, WHY IS IT OUR PROBLEM?

    • Patti says:

      It becomes OUR problem, OUR RESPONSIBILITY because our to prevent OUR identity from being stolen which can happen now. The information stolen from Equifax will be sold many times over in coming years. Bad guys can be very patient with our information and it could be years before it’s used. If the stolen information from Equifax gets into the wrong hands, experts say data thieves can open bank accounts, lines of credit, new credit cards and even drivers’ licenses in your name. They can saddle you with speeding tickets, steal your tax refund, swipe your Social Security check and prevent you from getting prescription drugs. If a data thief took out a prescription using your identity, that goes on your medical record. That could seriously screw up your ability to get treatment at a hospital or from your pharmacy, particularly if the fraudster obtained medicine that counteracts with yours. The truth may be on victims’ sides, but it can take a very long time and hard work for victims to clear their names. My sister in law fought for 2 years to clear her name when her identity was stolen SO IT IS OUR PROBLEM and that is why this is a BIG deal!

  36. Patti says:

    Does anyone know how we join a class action lawsuit? Thank you.

  37. Deborah says:

    How about instead of paying consumers a lousy few cents from a class action lawsuit, we just eliminate Equifax and other credit reporting agencies, and we eliminate the use of Social Security numbers?

  38. Debbie Groceman says:

    trying to fix credit with Equifax and now this …..cant trust anyone

  39. Ray Hanes says:

    “1 year of complementary service just sign up right here where we’ll add your informaition into yet another of our databases they we’ve now demonstrated we have no ability to protect!”

    How many geniuses are signing up for that! 😀

  40. John Jorgenson says:

    We’ll end up getting around $10 and some version of free credit monitoring for 5 years at the most.. probably 1-2 years.

  41. Jay says:

    Keep in mind that although reports say 143 million people may have been affected, Equifax is alleging that information for 209,000 people was or could have been obtained. That means if you are not among that 209,000, you are probably far less likely to be awarded a judgment than if you are in that smaller group of people. Courts do sometimes look at individual cases and allocate funds according to actual injury as opposed to granting 143 million people a blanket amount of money.

  42. Darlene says:

    I’m sorry, but, the majority of the money should be going to all those who were affected, not the lawyers. Why bother if we get penny’s for our information being hacked? Lawyers should only get a very small percentage on class action lawsuits.

  43. El Jefe says:

    – You can Enroll for free monitoring and still join Class Action Lawsuit. The fine print was referring to their monitoring software.
    – You can join CALawsuit and still file a Civil Lawsuit
    – Google BOT sues Equifax for a simple way to file the forms to sue them.

  44. Orthodoxy Reversed says:

    In the grand scheme of things, I’d rather see this company crumble.. sure some lawyers will make millions, but at the cost of the greedy pig. The one who holds our financial future in their hands. The ones who forced me to play their game and run through their hoops. The facts are there! They are corrupt, obviously duplicitous by nature (hence why were having this argument) but this monkey house will burn.

    Now, it is important to note, that we are likely the body of the masses, being driven by elite hacker groups to to bring about a monumental change. However manipulative, we wouldn’t have come together otherwise. For we the masses are blind (including myself) and cannot be relied on to bring about evolution. THIS is our chance. We must bankrupt to rebuild.

  45. Dave says:

    Sign up for they’re free credit monitoring service. If your account ha been affected they will provide up to $1,000,000.00 through insurance to pay for lawyers fees to fight it. you might get $1.56 from a class action suit.

  46. Gus says:

    Would it be possible to file an individual “small claims court” case. ? In New Jersey the max is $ 3,000.00.

    Other states are as follows : http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/small-claims-suits-how-much-30031.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑