Class action suit over 2014 Supervalu/Albertsons data breach dismissed

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SuperValu and Albertsons are clear from the threat of a class action lawsuit related to a 2014 data breach.

At the time, SuperValu owned a bulk of the Albertsons stores across the country, and provided back-office functions to the rest under an agreement with Boise-based New Albertsons Inc.

In the intervening years, New Albertsons Inc. purchased the stores it didn’t own from SuperValu. It later purchased the larger Safeway chain, and transitioned to Safeway’s IT systems – a process completed last year.

A district court earlier dismissed all claims against New Albertsons and its corporate cousin AB Acquisition because the plaintiffs never shopped at a store then owned by Albertsons.

[Albertsons faces three separate actions related to opioids]

Now, reports a federal appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss the entire class action suit based on the data breach.

Hackers hit SuperValu with a pair of cyberattacks that exposed customer credit and debit card details. The affected stores included Idaho Albertsons locations. But other personally identifying information like social security numbers were not in the stolen data trove.

The lead plaintiff, David Holmes of Belleville, Illinois didn’t prove any actual harm according to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Holmes’s alleged injuries—the expenditure of time monitoring his account, the single fraudulent charge to his credit card, and the effort expended replacing his card—do not constitute actual damage,” Circuit Judge Jane Kelly wrote. “The time Holmes spent protecting himself against the threat of future identity theft does not amount to an out-of-pocket loss.”

The 8th Circuit also threw out two other claims. One alleged negligence on the part of SuperValue and New Albertsons. But the court said the companies aren’t actually required by Illinois law to protect customers’ financial info. It also dismissed an undue enrichment claim.

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