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LDG Garners Appellate Victory In Data Breach Class Action Against P.F. Chang’s

In a major win for consumers, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that victims of the June 2014 data breach at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro have standing to pursue their claims, reversing a lower court’s decision dismissing the case.

Following its prior landmark decision in Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Grp., LLC, 794 F.3d 688 (7th Cir. 2015), the appellate court found that the plaintiffs, Lucas Kosner and John Lewert, alleged injuries sufficient to support standing, with Kosner claiming fraudulent transactions had been attempted with his card and Lewert alleging that he spent time and money monitoring his credit reports and other financial statements for unauthorized charges and identity theft.  Chief Judge Diane Wood, writing for the three-judge panel, explained that “[i]n the present case, several of Lewert and Kosner’s alleged injuries fit within the categories we delineated in Remijas. They describe the same kind of future injuries as the Remijas plaintiffs did: the increased risk of fraudulent charges and identity theft they face because their data has already been stolen. These alleged injuries are concrete enough to support a lawsuit.”

The court further rejected the defendant’s argument that the data breach did not affect the locations at which Lewert and Kosner dined, noting that a statement P.F. Chang’s released shortly after discovering the breach was addressed to customers at all P.F. Chang’s restaurants in the United States, not merely the 33 locations to which P.F. Chang’s later claimed the breach was limited.    “When the data system for an entire corporation with locations across the country experiences a data breach and the corporation reacts as if that breach could affect all of its locations, it is certainly plausible that all of its locations were in fact affected,” Wood wrote.

Katrina Carroll and Kyle A. Shamberg of LDG’s Chicago office represent the plaintiffs and the class.