Yahoo users can sue over data breaches

US data breach victims can sue Yahoo

Pending litigation against Equifax in Atlanta over claims that its negligence allowed hackers to steal sensitive credit data from nearly half the US population is expected to extend the largest amount for a consumer recovery.

Yahoo Inc. (YHOO.O) can't escape claims that it should pay punitive damages over data breaches that left information on 3 billion customers in hackers' hands.

Verizon Communications, which purchased Yahoo's internet business last June, had asked the court to have numerous suit's claims dismissed, Reuters reported.

Yahoo reached an $80 million settlement this month with investors over claims that executives concealed the data breaches to artificially inflate share prices.

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Of the sixteen motions to dismiss proposed by Yahoo, Koh granted six and denied 10 which will decrease the size of the plaintiff class considerably.

Yahoo later sheepishly admitted that all of its three billion users were affected by the 2013 breach. The filing, dated Friday, cited several customers whose data was stolen by criminals and used for filing fraudulent tax returns or credit card charges. Scores of other customers had to freeze their credit and spend money on monitoring and protection services. Verizon and Altaba agreed to evenly split all costs tied to lawsuit liability over the data breaches as part of the Yahoo acquisition deal. Reuters reported that, last March, U.S. prosecutors charged four individuals in connection to one of the breaches - including two Russian intelligence agents and a Canadian citizen.

Koh agreed to toss the claims of two of the named plaintiffs who claim violations of California's unfair competition law on grounds of the threat of identity theft from the breach, but upheld the claim of another plaintiff who had paid $19.95 per year for the premium email service.

"Plaintiffs' allegations are sufficient to show that they would have behaved differently had defendants disclosed the security weaknesses of the Yahoo Mail System", Koh wrote in her decision, which was obtained by International Business Times.

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