San Francisco on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Equifax, becoming the first city in the United States to sue the credit reporting agency following a massive data breach that exposed highly sensitive information belonging to 15 million Californians and 143 million people nationwide, according to City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of California residents, claims that Equifax failed to preserve adequate security protocols, warn consumers about the breach in a timely manner, and provide clear and specific details about the breach itself.
"Equifax’s incompetence would be comical if the subject matter weren’t so serious," Herrera wrote in a statement. "This company fell asleep at the switch and upended the lives of millions of people. The information that Equifax failed to safeguard is what people need to open a bank account, buy a home or rent an apartment. Now Californians have been put at risk of identity theft for years to come."
The lawsuit is seeking compensation on behalf of consumers who utilized Equifax services before Sept. 7 — when the breach was announced —as well as a court order mandating that the company maintain proper security measures in order to adequately handle sensitive information. The lawsuit also calls for a financial penalty of up to $2,500 for each law violation.
Equifax issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
"We cannot comment on pending litigation, but want to reassure consumers that we are remaining focused on helping them navigate the situation and providing the best customer support possible. We are listening to issues consumers have experienced and their suggestions, which are helping to further inform our actions as we continue to improve this process."