Why Equifax May Soon Find Itself In A World Of Hurt

Charlotte Injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “What if I am unable to work following the accident, as a result of my injuries? Will I be able to recover my lost wages?”


Data breaches have, unfortunately, become a far too common occurrence. It seems like every other day the news is reporting some company, big or small, has released sensitive details about its customers. In small breaches, maybe hundreds or thousands of people are impacted. In big ones, millions could find themselves harmed. Recently, the credit-reporting agency Equifax revealed a massive data breach impacting nearly 140 million individuals. The data breach is one of the largest in American history and has already resulted in speculation about the various forms of liability Equifax may soon face. To explore some of the potential causes of action against Equifax, keep reading.

Credit-card-chip-Charlotte-Lake-Norman-Injury-Lawyer-300x225First off, we should provide some background information. According to information released yesterday, Equifax was made aware of a massive data breach exposing personal financial information of more than 130 million customers back in July. Specifically, the breach was made known to the company on July 29th. Despite being aware of the breach for more than a month, Equifax decided to wait until September 7th to release the news, dropping the detail in an 8-K, a required SEC filing.


Since the news became public, Equifax has appeared to make problems for itself even worse. It was revealed that the CFO of Equifax recently sold shares of the company, avoiding the recent punishing decline the stock has taken now that news of the data breach is public. The company also asked its customers to check whether they had been hacked by typing in their social security numbers, a definite no-no in the data protection world.


Equifax now faces problems on several fronts. First, from a governmental perspective, it is possible that the FTC could bring a claim against the company. The reason is that the FTC Act regulates things related to the safeguarding of consumer data and a failure to properly secure the data could be viewed as a violation of the act. If so, then the FTC could bring enforcement action against the company for its failure to properly secure the personal information. Shareholders may also have a claim against the company. By failing to secure data, the shareholders could claim injury due to the tremendous loss in market value that has occurred since the news of the breach became public. Finally, experts say that if it can be determined that the CFO was aware of the breach before he sold his shares, then the SEC could bring charges.

Even more troubling for Equifax is the potential liability associated with claims from customers. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, creates a civil cause of action for consumers who have had personal financial information stolen. Already two people in Oregon have sued Equifax and have cited this law as support, claiming the company was negligent in failing to secure their information. Specifically, the plaintiffs blame Equifax for failing to spend enough money to build a security system that would have prevented the breach.


One final bit of outrage was recently revealed. Those customers who go to Equifax for more information about whether they are among the customers whose data was stolen must be mindful not to waive their right to taking any future case to trial. According to a lawyer involved in one of the pending lawsuits against Equifax, the company has included language on its site’s terms and conditions that suggest accessing the website requires customers to agree to arbitration. Given this, customers should be very careful before clicking or agreeing to any clauses on Equifax’s website, as doing so many inadvertently waive important legal rights (Due to public pressure, this agreement to arbitration has recently been removed).


If you or someone close to you has been injured, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today who can help you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation, call at 704-370-2828 or click here for additional resources.


About the Author:

Matt Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, personal injury and wrongful death claims.

Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.

A board-certified specialist in the practice of Family Law, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state courts in North Carolina, in the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, and in the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.

In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.






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