News Column

Schnucks agrees to settle class action suit in credit card breach

July 10, 2014

By Tim Barker, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

July 10--Schnuck Markets appears to have settled some of the legal challenges stemming from a massive data breach that started in the winter of 2012.

A settlement agreement has been filed in St. Louis Circuit Court in a class action suit on behalf of customers who suffered from the breach that started in December 2012 and ran through March 2013. The incident exposed an estimated 2.4 million credit and debit cards.

The $2.1 million settlement, which still needs final court approval, would pay affected customers for a variety of inconveniences.

Up to $200 in out-of-pocket expenses for things like unreimbursed bank fees, long distance and cellphone charges incurred while dealing with the fallout, credit monitoring services and time spent working with banks, merchants and creditors.

Each customer who dealt with a fraudulent charge that was later reimbursed can receive $10 for each credit or debit card affected.

The settlement also will pay up to $10,000 to victims who actually lost money because of the breach.

The settlement also calls for the class action attorneys to be paid up to $635,000, plus expenses.

Judge David Dowd has set a final approval hearing for Jan. 13, 2015.

A Schnucks spokesman said he could not discuss the case, beyond the details of the settlement.

Attorneys representing the identity theft victims did not respond to requests for comment.

It's not clear what impact the settlement will have on a related federal court case on the same issue. Filings show the federal judge has been holding that case in limbo while awaiting resolution of the Missouri case. Documents suggest the federal case will proceed if affected Schnucks customers choose not to take part in the settlement that's been hammered out.

The grocer also has ongoing litigation against two payment processing companies -- First Data Merchant Data Services Corp. and Citicorp Payment Services Inc. -- in federal court here. According to court documents, Schnucks is accusing the firms of withholding too much money from the grocer to cover costs related to the breach.

Tim Barker is the biotechnology and agriculture reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @tbarker13


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Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

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