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Schnucks Credit Card Lawsuit: Could Company Owe Millions of Dollars To Affected Customers?

scott-schnuck-ceo.jpg
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Scott Schnuck.
In the wake of a massive security breach that left millions of credit cards vulnerable, Schnucks is now facing multiple lawsuits in Missouri and Illinois from customers and lawyers who say the company should have alerted shoppers sooner -- and should never have let this happened in the first place. The local supermarket chain has repeatedly apologized, saying it was a victim of a cyber attack, that it told the public as soon as it possibly could and that the stores are now safe for credit card use.

But if a judge agrees with those bringing forward the class-action suit -- who say that Schnucks was negligent and violated consumer laws -- how much would it potentially owe customers?

The company touched upon that question in its latest court filing, which notes that, if the suit prevailed, Schnucks could owe nearly $80 million to customers. And that's only referring to Illinois shoppers.

See also:
- Schnucks Runs Full-Page Apology for Credit-Card Scandal As Suits Allege Negligence
- Schnucks Massive Credit Card Security Breach May Have Impacted 2.4 Million
- Boy, 5, Found Wandering Schnucks Alone at Night, Doesn't Know His Last Name

Jeff Millar -- an attorney who has filed the class-action lawsuit on behalf of Illinois customers -- says that Schnucks' most recent court action offers useful insight into the scope of the potential damages.

Schnucks, however, continues to argue that the lawsuit is completely without merit.

CEO Scott Schnuck's latest apology.

Millar alerted Daily RFT to Schnucks' latest court filing on Friday, which is a request to move the case from state court to federal court. While that motion is not newsworthy, what is, he says, is the math Schnucks' attorneys complete in the document explaining how much the damages could cost.

"This is the first time that Schnucks has really looked at this and put a dollar amount to it," he says.

He highlights these components of the Schnucks motion, full document on view below:

- "approximately 500,000 unique credit or debit cards were used in Schnucks' Illinois stores during the relevant time period. Thus, based on Plaintiff's allegations, the proposed putative class has at least 500,000 members."

- "For example, even valuing Plaintiff's and the putative class members' alleged 'time and effort' damages at the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour), and interpreting 'numerous hours' to equal only two (2) hours, the potential amount in controversy is equal to approximately $7.25 million."

- "the Illinois Supreme Court has approved a punitive damage award with a ratio of punitive to compensatory damages of approximately 11 to 1."

Millar says that, by the company's own calculations, if a judge found Schnucks guilty and ordered the company to pay punitive damages to Illinois customers, that could total nearly $80 million (given that the company cites $7.25 million in compensatory damages and an eleven-to-one ratio in punitive to compensatory damages).

Lori Willis, spokeswoman for Schnucks, tells Daily RFT in an e-mail that moving a class-action suit filed in state court to federal court is common. She adds:

Defendants in lawsuits like this one have the right to move the case to federal court if the plaintiffs are claiming entitlement to more than $5 million. Removing the case to federal court does not mean that the defendant agrees with any of the plaintiffs' claims or the amount of the damages being claimed.

Just to be clear, there were no "admissions" in the Schnucks filing. Schnucks believes the complaint is without merit and plans to put forth an aggressive defense.

Simply put, Shnucks is still denying liability, which is also spelled out in the motion.

Continue for more from Jeff Millar and for full copies of the documents in question.


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32 comments
Shawn Sullivan
Shawn Sullivan

I hate lawsuits and I hate companies that hold back bad info about themselves to save face while their many customers get screwed. They found out ahead of time and told us when it hit the news. I now drive 20 minutes out of my way to get better quality products from Dierbergs whom I was not happy with for shunning the city residents. We aren't good enough for Dierbergs in the city but schnucks thought we weren't good enough or smart enough to be informed right away. It sucks both ways. We need Krogers back!

Marshall Patrick
Marshall Patrick

absolutely not.......I was one of those customers, I told my CC company what had happened, and was issued a new card. On the other hand, if this breach has cost Schnuck's customers out of pocket money then they should be given food vouchers redeemable at Schnucks. Proof must be given for redemption. With getting a new card most of my auto pay companies needed to be updated to the new card. It was a pain yes, but not worth sueing a great Grocery Store or Mr. Schnuck

Craig Stevens
Craig Stevens

Hackers are guilty, of well...hacking. Smucks is guilty of not keeping confidental information private and secure. This has been a pain in the rear. I didn't go there much anyway, and now I don't plan on returning.

Ronni Smith
Ronni Smith

They should be sued for the way they handled the situation, they deceived their customers. That's the bottom line. They knew there was a problem and they failed to notify the consumers affected by it. They risked my privacy and my financial well being to protect their profits. I hope they are put out of business for that act alone. I hope the hackers are caught and prosecuted and that all who lost money and were inconvenienced are properly compensated. But I live in the real world where fairy tales seldom come true. So I will settle for seeing them lose their precious profits and their business that they care more about than the people who provided it for them in the first place. I am the forgotten customer, you should have taken care of me while I was there supporting and growing your company. Now I am forever lost to you and no matter what you do, you will never convince me to do business with you again because I no longer trust you. It amuses me to watch you spend thousands of dollars on television spots and advertising campaigns trying to get me back. You never will. Too bad you couldn't do the right thing in the first place.

John Foster
John Foster

Tired of hearing him apologize. Enough already.

Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

They didn't steal from anybody, how do they owe anybody anything?

Betsy Sawyer
Betsy Sawyer

Could happen at any retail store I say find the hacker bad people

Derek Walker
Derek Walker

The biggest problem with this is they knew what was going on and did not tell the customers. Therefore its their fault! The reason they did not say anything, was they knew they would lose business if the word was out. So let them pay out and have them go after the hackers and the people who bought these stolen numbers.

Brook D'Crook
Brook D'Crook

im so horrible. i totally encourage greedy lawyers by jumping on class actions all the time

Eric Farlow
Eric Farlow

"I **sincerely** apologize" off a cue card is the apology version of shooting yourself in the foot.

Julie Wilhelm
Julie Wilhelm

DId this cost the consumers any money? I wasnt involved in it. But I think people not going back to schnucks would be harsh enough punishment.And if people do go back, or have continued to shop there, then I think it is up to the consumers whether or not they stay in business or lose money. Im not a fan of schnucks myself anyway but it will force Schnucks to raise prices, wouldnt it? A lawsuit? Or a payout??

Sandy Eaton Johns
Sandy Eaton Johns

IN A WAY BUT I THINK FIND THE HACKER N MAKE THEM PAY IT BK,THEY STOLE IT,NOT THE STORE

Brianne Victor Gerzevske
Brianne Victor Gerzevske

So I have had a credit card AND a debit card compromised in the past two weeks. No money was stolen, but we had to deal with the inconvenience of waiting for new cards. Big deal. I can't believe people think they should be comped something even when they didn't lose money. Coupons, gift cards, etc. It's asinine. You want vindication? Don't shop at Schnucks anymore. Problem solved. In my opinion, Schnucks should not be held liable, though they could have been more transparent in the beginning.

PJ Mitchell Rulo
PJ Mitchell Rulo

one way or another..these people should get their money back.i think both hackers and schnucks should be reliable.

Michael Sierchio
Michael Sierchio

If Schnucks was as careless with consumer data as they appear to have been, they are liable. They failed to take the minimum measures to protect the data dictated by consensus best practices.

Dan Graney
Dan Graney

or a better apology... that video currently airing is el stinkereno. Stop reading the cue cards and really be sorry. Sheesh.

Michael Grzechowiak
Michael Grzechowiak

They should go after the hackers and pay the customers what ever the judge orders. They are a large company and therefore should have known about other companies being hacked in the previuos years and changed thier system just like the other companies did. I believ they were putting off an expense they were aware of just to save some money while jeapordizing their customers finances. "Subway" changed their system a few years ago because of a similar problem. Schnucks had to have been aware of their outdated system.

Dustin Brown
Dustin Brown

The world keeps spinning whether you continue to shop at Schnucks or not. I guess you can always try and find a small percentage of customer service at the wallmart.

Matthew Sawicki
Matthew Sawicki

sounds like some lawyers trying to come up. I'm sure they'll get millions while those affected get a $10 gift card... if it even goes through.

Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano
Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano

took the words right outta my mouth! this is what i've been trying to TELL ppl. if someone steals your mail and takes your bank statement and cleans out a large sum of $ from the bank acct, is the post carrier and US Post sued for it? no, you go after the thieving crackhead who got into your mailbox!

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

I would accept a free pound of bacon and call it even.

Vladimer Lapunksky
Vladimer Lapunksky

I think that the third party payment system that was hacked should be the company that gives the payout to customers. Especially considering that since it was the third party payment system that got hacked, cards were compromised at other places, like QuikTrip, Target, Walmart, Sam's, etc. This was not just an isolated incident at Schnucks, but it has been reported as such. It would be nice if people knew that, and if people knew how this is effecting the workers of Schnucks.

Meredith Mendola
Meredith Mendola

I certainly wouldn't mind some gift cards. I had two debit cards compromised.

jojo1953
jojo1953

@John Foster I agree!  Enough too late.

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