Marriott sued hours after announcing data breach

One class-action lawsuit is seeking $12.5 billion in damages.
Written by Catalin Cimpanu, Contributor

Hours after announcing a data breach on Friday, two Oregon men sued international hotel chain Marriott for exposing their data. Their lawsuit was followed hours later by another one filed in the state of Maryland.

Both lawsuits are seeking class-action status. While plaintiffs in the Maryland lawsuit didn't specify the amount of damages they were seeking from Marriott, the plaintiffs in the Oregon lawsuit want $12.5 billion in costs and losses.

This should equate to $25 for each of the 500 million users who had their personal data stolen from Marriott's servers in the breach announced last week, on Friday.

The two Oregon plaintiffs told a local newspaper, that they view the $25 as a minimum value for the time users will spend canceling credit cards due to the Marriott hack.

The Maryland lawsuit was filed by Baltimore law firm Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, according to a press release.

Both lawsuits have been filed after Marriott announced a massive data breach on Friday, revealing that hackers stole the personal details of nearly 500 million users. The hotel chain didn't say for how many users hackers also managed to get access to financial data, but the tally can't be larger than 327 million, according to a Marriott press release.

Guests who stayed at Marriott's Starwood-branded hotels in the past four years were affected. Starwood brands include W Hotels, St. Regis, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Element Hotels, Aloft Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts, Four Points by Sheraton and Design Hotels.

Other class-action lawsuits against Marriott are expected to be filed in the coming months. Most of these lawsuits will be merged together to simplify court proceedings. Such class-action lawsuits usually take years to reach trial and in most instances end with a settlement. For example, Uber just agreed to pay $148 million to settle a class-action for its 2016 hack, while Yahoo agreed to pay as much as $85 million for a 2014 hack that exposed the personal details of 500 million users.

The Marriott hack is tied for the second biggest hack of all time with this aforementioned Yahoo hack. The top spot goes to the same Yahoo, but for a 2013 breach during which hackers stole the personal details of three billion users.

Marriot shares saw a maximum 8.7 percent drop after announcing the data breach, but they are now 5 percent down compared to Thursday's closing price. Research released in 2017 by Centrify showed that hacks and data breaches don't have a long-term impact on share prices and that most companies recover.

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