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Massive Equifax settlement got the nod one year ago. Where 2019s the money for victims?

Patricia Sabatini, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in News & Features

It's been one year since the settlement involving tens of millions of victims of the colossal Equifax data breach received final approval and the deadline passed for filing initial claims.

There's still been no payout. Where's the money?

Several parties that initially opposed the court settlement are waiting to have their appeals heard before benefits can be disbursed, slowing the process.

One major appellant is the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute and Center for Class Action Fairness in Washington, D.C.

The institute, led by attorney Ted Frank, tried in vain to get the settlement thrown out on grounds that the proposed payout for victims was wildly inadequate, calling it a "pitiful" recovery for the nearly 150 million victims.

The institute also contended that the value of the deal, upon which attorney fees were based, was wildly inflated. If the value were more realistic, it would make roughly $60 million more available to return to victims, the group said.

 

In its appeal, the institute is focusing on another of its objections: Millions of class members living in states that allow valuable statutory damage claims, including Pennsylvania, were prohibited by the settlement from making those claims but weren't given any added compensation in return. Pennsylvania allows statutory damages of up to three times actual damages, Mr. Frank said.

The settlement "did not follow the law of class actions and fairly represent class members with different causes of action in different states," he said last week.

Oral arguments for appeals are set to begin in April, according to the settlement website.

The 2017 hack at Equifax was one of the largest ever to threaten private information, exposing the personal data of some 56% of U.S. adults.

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