One class-action lawsuit is seeking $12.5 billion in damages. A lawsuit was filed in Oregon by two men against the international hotel chain Marriott just hours after it announced a data breach on Friday. Shortly after that, another lawsuit was filed in the state of Maryland.
Marriott’s announcement of the massive data breach on Friday revealed that nearly 500 million users had their personal details stolen by hackers. According to the Marriott press release, there is no telling how many users’ financial data of which the hackers may also have managed to get access but they report it couldn’t be more than 327 million.
Class-action status is being sought by both lawsuits. $12.5 billion is being sought by the plaintiffs in the Oregon lawsuit for costs and losses, but no amount has been specified by the Maryland lawsuit for damages as yet.
Splitting $12.5 billion between 500,000 users who had their personal data stolen from Marriott servers boils down to a $25 minimum value per person for the time they will have to spend canceling their credit cards because of the breach, the two Oregon plaintiffs told local newspapers.
Those who were particularly affected are guests who stayed at Marriott’s Starwood-branded hotels in the last four years. The announcement reported the list of Starwood-brands hotels to include W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels.
It is expected that in the coming months more class-action lawsuits will be filed against Marriott. In order to simplify court proceedings, it is most likely that a number of the lawsuits will be merged together. In such instances, it is more than likely that they will end in a settlement because they usually take years to even reach trial.
For instance, in 2014 Yahoo settled to agree to pay out as much as $85 million for a hack that exposed personal details of 3 million of its users; and in 2016, Uber settled up a class-action suit for its hack by paying out $148 million.
Marriott and Yahoo are tied for the second biggest hacks of all time, but the top spot goes to a 2013 breach of Yahoo with three billion users having their personal details stolen by hackers.
Although Marriott shares saw a drop after announcing the data breach on Friday, a report released in 2017, by research conducted by Centrify showed “that hacks and data breaches don’t have a long-term impact on share prices and that most companies recover.”