Illinois couple sues Michaels over data breach

Illinois couple sues Michaels over data breach

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

An Illinois couple has filed a class action lawsuit against Michaels Stores Inc. over a recent security breach that may have compromised the credit and debit card information of the company's customers.

Michael C. Gouwens and his wife, Jessica E. Gouwens, filed the suit in U.S. District Curt Tuesday, claiming that Michaels breached an implied contract with its customers to safeguard their credit card information.

The suit claims customers gave credit and debit card information to Michaels stores under the implied agreement that the company would protect that information. Customer data being compromised constitutes a breach of that implied contract, according to the suit.

The suit also claims the craft store chain violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act by failing to implement proper security measures, warn shoppers that their data was at risk or notify affected customers of the nature and extent of the breach.

Michaels issued a statement Jan. 25 stating that the company had learned about a possible data security attack and warning customers to look out for fraudulent purchases.

"While we have not confirmed a compromise to our systems, we believe it is in the best interest of our customers to alert them to this potential issue so they can take steps to protect themselves, for example, by reviewing their payment card account statements for unauthorized charges," Michaels CEO Chuck Rubin said in the statement.

The suit claims that Michaels experienced a similar breach in 2011, which should have alerted the company of the need for additional security measures.

"Throughout our 40-year history, our customers have always been our number one priority and we deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause," Rubin said in the initial statement. "The privacy and security of our customers' information is of critical importance to us and we are focused on addressing this issue."

A representative for Michaels Stores, Inc., declined to comment on the pending litigation.

The two-count lawsuit is seeking an undisclosed amount in compensatory and punitive damages.

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