By Thomas Claburn
January 7, 2008
Following revelations that Sears' ManageMyHome.com site exposed customer
purchase data to any online visitor who asked about it, a New Jersey
resident has filed a $5 million class action lawsuit against the
In a complaint filed on Friday in Cook County, Ill., where Sears has its
headquarters, plaintiff Christine Desantis alleges that the company's
exposure of customer data represents a breach of contract and a
violation of the Consumer Fraud Act.
The $5 million sought is to cover payments to affected consumers and
attorneys, and the cost of injunctive relief; no individual is seeking
more than $75,000, according to the legal filing.
The crux of the case is that Sears "failed to take reasonable steps to
ensure that [consumers'] private information was secure," according to
"Implicit in Sears's contracts is a good faith and fair dealing
provision, requiring Sears to disclose whether and to what extent it
makes publicly available customers' personal information and to take
reasonable steps to insure that the private information of [customers]
is not easily accessible by the public," the complaint states. "Not only
does Sears fail to make such disclosures, it makes contrary disclosures
on its Web site, listing the specific circumstances -- none of which are
germane to the instant case -- under which Sears does share customer
information with others."
The complaint also alleges that Sears' failure to promptly and
prominently disclose the security breach on its Web site constitutes a
violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, a claim that shows how much
disclosure laws like California's SB 1386 have changed the expectations
of corporations following a data breach.
A Sears spokesperson said the company does not comment on pending
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