Class-action lawsuit filed against Schnucks

News-DemocratMay 2, 2013 

A St. Louis attorney has filed a class-action lawsuit against Schnuck Markets Inc. in St. Clair County Circuit Court on behalf of consumers from Illinois whose bank and credit accounts were compromised after shopping at Schnucks grocery stores between December and March.

Attorney Jeffrey Millar, of Millar Law Firm LLC in St. Louis, filed the lawsuit on April 25 on behalf of lead plaintiff Laverne Rippy, who had shopped at Schnucks in Belleville. Millar said he is seeking a class-action suit on behalf of all other Illinois residents who had shopped at 79 of Schnucks' 100 stores throughout the Midwest between Dec. 10 and March 29 after learning his client and potentially 2.4 million Schnucks customers' credit and debit card numbers and expiration dates had been obtained. Some of those customers discovered between hundreds and thousands of dollars spend under their accounts.

Millar said the lawsuit questions that if customers accounts were compromised as early as Dec. 10, then why did it take the company four months to notify customers?

"If December is the date, is four months reasonable amount of time to notify customers?" Millar asked. "Our position is why didn't you notify them immediately?

"Did it really happen in December? If it did, why did you wait four months to tell everybody?"

Schnuck Markets Inc. spokeswoman Lori Willis said that information that the grocer shared on April 15 includes a timeline that explains that the Maryland Heights, Mo.-based grocer learned about the problem on March 15, when its credit and debit card processor first contacted the company about 12 reports of fraud. Schnucks immediately launched an investigation and on March 30 declared that it had contained the problem. Customers who had used credit or debit cards at Schnucks stores during the identified time were advised to check with their bank or credit card company to make sure their accounts were secure.

"A review of the facts that we provided in our released on April 15 will show that the lawsuit has no merit," Willis said.

Millar said Schnucks has not been served notice of the lawsuit. He said he anticipates to hear back from them by the end of next month.

At least one other lawsuit, also claiming data breach, has been filed against the grocer in Missouri.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 618-239-2526.

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