Cook County Record

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Possible security breach at Michaels spurs class action lawsuit

By Andrew Thomason | Feb 3, 2014

Another major retailer is facing a class action lawsuit after hackers likely compromised customers' information relating to credit and debit cards.

Christina Moyer sued Michaels Stores Inc., an arts and crafts retailer, in Chicago's federal court on Jan. 27, two days after the company announced customers’ personal information may have been stolen.

Mark Lavery of Hyslip & Taylor in Chicago filed the suit on behalf of Moyer and a proposed class. A docket entry shows that Lavey will present the motion to certify a class before U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Michaels, a Texas-based company, informed customers through a Jan. 25 post on its website that it discovered it was the target of cyber attacks.

“We are concerned there may have been a data security attack on Michaels that may have affected our customers’ payment card information and we are taking aggressive action to determine the nature and scope of the issue,” Chuck Rubin, chief executive officer of Michaels, said in the post.

Michaels stated in that post that it was still working to determine whether any customer information was actually stolen.

“While we have not confirmed a compromise to our systems, we believe it is in the best interest of our customers to alert them to this potential issue so they can take steps to protect themselves," Rubin said.

Moyer, a Chicagoland resident, asserts in her suit that shopped at a Michaels store recently and is now paying for credit monitoring and identity theft protection because of the possible compromise.

She claims Michaels breached an implied contract with her and others by failing to adequately protect their private information.

Michaels "did not adequately monitor their information technology system for the presence of intruders in a manner that would enable them to detect this intrusion, so that they breach of security and diversion of customer information was able to continue unnoticed fora period of time," Moyer's suit states.

Moyer is seeking a declaratory judgment that Michaels pay for credit monitoring and identity theft insurance, and be ordered to indemnify Moyer and the class for future harm. Right now, Michaels is directing customers to a free credit monitoring website.

This isn't the first time Michaels has been the target of electronic attacks. In 2011, criminals had tampered with registers at many of the chain's brick-and-motor stores, include at some Chicago locations.

Moyer’s case is one of the latest in Chicago's federal court involving a breach of cyber security at a major retailer.

There are at least four cases related to a security breach on Target that comprised the information of millions of its customers. Most of the suits against Target also center on the argument the retailer breached an implied contract by allowing the security slip to happen.

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