WHEELING – A class action lawsuit has been filed against Equifax Inc. after the plaintiffs claim it failed to adequately protect credit information and personal information.

Cynthia Rice, David H. Yoder, Vera Standish, Parry Petroplus and Christopher Chaffin filed the lawsuit on behalf of 500,000 consumers across West Virginia that were harmed by the company’s failure to protect information, according to a complaint filed Sept. 8 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

The plaintiffs claim throughout the past year, Equifax collected and stored personal and credit information from them, including their social security numbers, birth dates, home addresses, driver’s license information and credit card numbers.

Equifax owed a legal duty to consumers like the plaintiffs and the proposed class they seek to represent to use reasonable care to protect their credit and personal information from unauthorized access by third parties, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim Equifax knew that its failure to protect the plaintiffs and the class members’ credit and personal information from unauthorized access would cause serious risks of credit harm and identify theft for years to come.

On Sept. 7, Equifax announced that from May to July, its database storing the plaintiffs and class members’ information had been improperly accessed by unauthorized third parties, subjecting them to credit harm and identity theft, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim Equifax negligently failed to maintain adequate technological safeguards to protect the plaintiffs and the class members from unauthorized access by hackers.

Equifax knew or should have known that failure to maintain adequate technological safeguards would eventually result in a massive data breach, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim Equifax was negligent and fell below the standard of care in the technological industry.

The plaintiffs are seeking an order to preserve all documents and information pertaining to the case, an order certifying the matter as a class action and judgment against Equifax for fair compensation in an amount to be decided by a jury. They are being represented by R. Dean Hartley and Mark R. Staun of Hartley Law Group.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 1:17-cv-00156

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