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On May 19, 2017, a judge granted approval of a settlement that ended litigation against Shorter University. According to court documents, an anonymous person gained access to and executed the theft of the PII and PHI belonging to current and former students who attended Shorter University. PII is the acronym for Personally Identifiable Information and PHI represents the abbreviation for Protected Health Information.
Primary plaintiffs asserted that although Shorter University alerted student s to the data, the school is still on the legal hook for failing to prevent a hacker from stealing personal health and financial information. The class action lawsuit also alleged that Shorter University slowly responded to the data theft.
Shorter University has not admitted legal liability for the student data breach, but the school settled the class action lawsuit to avoid the uncertainty of continued litigation.
What You Need To Know About the Shorter University Class Action Lawsuit and Data Breach Settlement
According to class counsel, eligible class members of the Shorter University data breach class action settlement “include Shorter University students whose PII or PHI was stolen or compromised as a result of the September 2014 theft of hardcopy documents from the training room at the Winthrop-King Centre on the Shorter University campus in Rome, Ga.” Qualifying class members must opt out of the settlement or contest the agreement by September 1, 2017.
The potential award is reimbursement or the value of monitoring services not to exceed $175. Eligible class members who choose to accept cash reimbursements must submit documentation with the claim form that proves the payment of out of pocket expenses and/or the time required to fix the issues associated with the data breach. Data breach losses include unauthorized credit card charges, the expenses related to recovering financial assets caused by identity theft, losses incurred because of limited or complete denial of ATM access, and financial losses caused by fraudulent email activities. For class members that choose to receive free monitoring services, the class action settlement mandates 12 months of free Identity Guard Total
Protection Monitoring Services.
Eligible class members have until February 15, 2017 to submit a valid claim form. The judge who granted preliminary approval of the class action settlement case Erin Bishop, et al. v. Shorter University Inc., Case No. 4:15-cv-00033-HLM, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has scheduled the final hearing on October 17, 2017. To learn what transpired at the final hearing, visit the class action settlement website www.ShorterDataBreach.com. Attorneys from Rhine Law Firm PC, Law Offices of Paul C. Whalen, Ahdoot & Woolfson PC, Jones Ward PLC, and Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group represent the class counsel. J. Anderson Davis of Brinson Askew BerrySiegler Richardson & Davis LLP is handling the legal responsibilities for the defense.
Monitoring services and/or reimbursement of up to $175.
Cash Fund: Class Members are entitled to receive reimbursement of up to $175 for their losses related to the Shorter University data breach, including up to five hours of documented time at $15 per hour. These losses may include:
- Unauthorized charges on credit or debit cards that have not been reimbursed;
- Expenses associated with addressing identity theft or fraud that occurred as a result of the Shorter University data breach;
- Losses related to restricted access to funds (such as ATM fees or costs of taking out a loan);
- Costs of credit monitoring, placing freezes on credit reports or costs of obtaining credit reports for review;
- Losses due to email-related fraud;
- Late fees, overdraft fees, declined payment fees, returned check fees, customer service fees and/or card cancellation or replacement fees incurred as a result of the Shorter University data breach; and
- Any other documented losses that can reasonably be attributed to the Shorter University data breach.
Monitoring Services: Class Members whose PII or PHI was located with the documents stolen from the Rome campus in September 2014 are eligible to enroll in 12 months of free Identity Guard Total Protection Monitoring Services.
NOTE: Class Members may make a claim for both cash and monitoring services.