EQUIFAX SETTLEMENT UPDATE

Bailey & Galyen would like to provide our clients with an update on the Equifax breach law suit. We have seen some terms but nothing that is finalized is set in stone to say what everyone in the class is going to obtain via the settlement. There are some parameters that have been proposed, but there are still details as to whom is entitled to those specific awards and if the proposed settlement amount will cover everyone in the class.

The Court still must approve the settlement, then the proposed settlements can be paid. What we do know is this — This proposed settlement was just recently announced within the past week and there are literally millions of people that are part of this class action lawsuit. It all takes time to administrator. The settlement administrator won’t send out any benefits until they’re allowed to do so by the court, which will be no earlier than January 23, 2020. That date could also change subject to many things at the Court’s discretion.

We want to let you know that wehave instituted a recorded information hotline with updates at 817-592-6160 that we will share with our clients. We also plan to update our website and send email newsletters on the latest information as it becomes available. All information will be the same across the telephone number, website and newsletters.

James Bridge
COO & Firm Managing Attorney


SEPTEMBER 9, 2019 UPDATE

Dear Bailey & Galyen Clients,

We wanted to send you an update on the Equifax data breach settlement. As you may have already heard, on Monday, July 22, 2019, we filed a motion asking the Court to approve a settlement in this matter. The Court held a hearing on that same day, and issued an order directing notice to be issued to the class.

As noted in the Court’s Order, the proposed settlement provides the following:

  • The payment into a settlement fund of $380.5 million (with another $125 million potentially available for certain claims)
  • The appointment of Experian to provide four (4) years of free three-bureau credit monitoring and seven (7) years of identity restoration services (or the ability to claim cash alternative compensation subject to a cap if a class member already has credit monitoring services)
  • The right to enroll in an additional six (6) years of free one-bureau credit monitoring provided by Equifax
  • The ability to claim reimbursement for up to twenty (20) hours of time at $25 per hour (claims for more than 10 hours require documentation) subject to a cap
  • The right to file a claim for up to $20,000 for documented out-of-pocket losses fairly traceable to the breach
  • The requirement that Equifax spend a minimum of $1 billion on data security and related technology, which will be monitored by an independent third-party, and
  • Specific and enforceable commitments by Equifax to improve its business practices affecting data security.

The settlement website can be accessed via the following URL: www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com

When making a claim, it is very important that you rely only on the information on the website and in the court-approved notices, and not on media reports or government agency press releases about the settlement. Much of the media reporting about the settlement has been inaccurate; you should rely on and follow only the court-approved process.

If you request or have already requested a cash benefit in lieu of credit monitoring, the amount you receive may be significantly reduced depending on how many valid claims are ultimately submitted by other class members. Based on the number of potentially valid claims that have been submitted to date, payments for time spent and alternative compensation of up to $125 likely will be substantially lowered and will be distributed on a proportional basis if the settlement becomes final. Depending on the number of additional valid claims filed, the amount you receive may be a small percentage of your initial claim. If you already filed a claim for cash alternative compensation, you may have already received, or may soon receive, an email from the Settlement Administrator with further instructions regarding your claim, including instructions on how to update your claim to ask for free credit monitoring services instead. It is very important that you follow those instructions to ensure that your claim is complete and valid.

Making a claim is only the first step. Once claims are submitted, the Settlement Administrator will need to review the claims for accuracy and determine whether there is any missing information. If there are any issues with a claim, they will let the you know. The Court will also have to decide whether to grant Final Approval to the Settlement. After that occurs, there may be appeals or other delays. Any updates to the deadlines will be posted on the Settlement website. Please be aware of the following important dates:

  • Objection Deadline – November 19, 2019
  • Opt-Out Deadline – November 19, 2019
  • Deadline for Class Counsel to File Motion for Final Approval of Settlement – December 5, 2019
  • Final Approval Hearing – December 19, 2019
  • Initial Claims Deadline – January 22, 2020

Sincerely,
James Bridge
COO & Firm Managing Attorney


AUGUST 2, 2019 UPDATE

You’ve reached the Equifax information hotline, a service provided by Bailey & Galyen Attorneys at Law. Today is July 26th of 2019. The following is an information update.

The credit reporting companies have agreed to pay between $575M and $700M to settle state and federal investigations related to a massive security incident that exposed the personal information of more than 147M Americans two years ago.

The levels of compensation as we know them today are:

There are levels of compensations for ID hacking up to $20,000.
10 years of free credit monitoring or $125 is another type of compensations if you have already purchased credit monitoring because of the Equifax Federal Breach.

Deadline to file a claim is January 22 of 2020. All the claims submitted are still subject to court approval.

If you were affected by the 2017 Equifax data breach you can file a claim for a piece of the settlement and Bailey & Galyen is here to assist our class members and anyone else who wants to be a part of the class.

As more information becomes available including relevant deadlines, we will advise the same via this hotline and our website.


 

STATEMENT OF CLASS COUNSEL IN THE EQUIFAX DATA BREACH CONSUMER CLASS ACTION

August 3, 2019

This statement by former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes of Marietta, Georgia; Ken Canfield of Atlanta, Georgia; Amy Keller of Chicago, Illinois; and Norma Siegel of Kansas City, Missouri: responds to misinformation circulating regarding the recently announced Equifax data breach settlement.

On July 22, 2019, a federal judge in Atlanta preliminarily approved a class action settlement resolving all consumer claims from the 2017 Equifax data breach settlement. The settlement is historic, requires Equifax to pay much more than in any previous data breach case, and provides relief to all consumers who were harmed. Here is a broad outline of the available relief:

1. Class members may claim up to $20,000 in actual losses from identity theft and costs incurred protecting themselves from future harm. All class members who purchased credit monitoring services as a result of the Equifax data breach case may claim the cost as an actual out of pocket loss.

2. Class members get 10 years of free credit monitoring. Class members who prefer to keep their own monitoring service and meet other conditions are entitled to an alternative cash payment subject to an overall cap of $31 million.

3. Class members have access to free identity restoration services for 7 service for 7 years, whether or not they make a claim.

4. All class members will benefit from requirements that Equifax overhaul its systems and Equifax must spend at least $1 billion over 5 years on cybersecurity measures.

In choosing what benefits are best for them, we urge class members to rely on the official notice approved by the court, not media stories or social media posts. The official notice and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com.

A more detailed response follows:

We reached a settlement with Equifax to resolve all consumer class action lawsuits on March 30, 2019. Equifax’s board approved the settlement the next day. The settlement was later revised at the request of federal and state regulators. Many of its terms were later incorporate into 52 separate consent orders between Equifax, the FTC, CFPB, and State and Territorial Attorney’s General.

On the morning of July 22, before we even present the class action settlement to the court, a deluge of pervasive media coverage began that has caused much confusion and misinformation. Many media reports wrongly suggested all class members are entitle to $125, triggering a flood of $125 claims on the settlement website. Many of those claims are not valid and will be rejected by the settlement administrator.

A valuable component of the class action settlement is ten years of free credit monitoring, which would cost each class member nearly $2,000 if purchased at retail. That monitoring provides services that are tailored to the exact breach that happened there–and, when combined with freezing your credit, is the best way that consumers can protect themselves from fraud or identity theft.

The settlement does not limit the number of class members who can sign up for credit monitoring. Every single class member who chooses credit monitoring will have the entire cost paid by Equifax. If more than 7 million class members sign up, Equifax will have to pay more money into the fund. The ultimate cost to Equifax if all 147 million class members sign up exceeds $2 billion.

The cash payment of up to $125 is meant to provide an “alternative” benefit to class members who prefer the credit monitoring service they already have. For that reason, the only class members eligible for the alternative benefit are those who already have. For that reason, the only class members eligible for the alternative benefit are those who already have monitoring, certify they intend to keep it for at least six months, and name the company that provides the service.

The alternative payments are capped at $31 million to ensure sufficient funds are available to pay for class members’ out of pocket losses. At the end of the claims period, if money is left over after those out of pocket losses are paid, the cap will be lifted and much of the additional money will be distributed to those who claimed the alternative cash payment.

Until the claims deadlines expire, we will not know how much class members who have chosen the alternative cash payment will get. That will depend on the number of claims, how many claims are valid, and whether the cap will be lifted. But, if current trends continue, we expect class members will get substantially less than $125. Eligible class members who have not yet decided between credit monitoring and a cash payment should keep that in mind when they make their choice. Those who have already chosen cash will be given an opportunity to reconsider their choice and file a new or amended claim.

Although class actions still remain the best way for consumers to obtain relief when impacted by a data breach, this settlement demonstrates that stronger laws need to be passed to protect consumers and ensure that they are fully compensated when corporations do not adequately protect their private information.