Vermont Woman Wins $600 In Small Claims Lawsuit Against Equifax

A Vermont woman was awarded $600 in damages in a lawsuit against Equifax. According to Vermont Valley News, Jessamyn West, 49, won a $600 judgement against the consumer credit bureau Equifax in a small claims court after her personal data was hacked and stolen in the company’s massive data breach last September.

West, a self-described member of the “librarian resistance,” filed papers against Equifax in September 2017 to pay her $5,000 in compensation. West’s mother had died in July 2017. Equifax’s exposure of her family’s credit files, she said, added to the work of sorting out her mother’s finances.

“I found out along with everyone else in September that Equifax had lost my information,” West said. “They didn’t patch part of their computer system, and hackers absconded with the information of me and 140 million other Americans.”

Equifax admitted in September that the company’s data breach had put customers’ names, address, credit card information, and Social Security numbers at risk.

Although less than 1% of data is ever analyzed, according to the IDC, even a small amount of leaked information can cause serious repercussions.

West, a librarian at the Randolph Technician Career Center, gives regular public lectures on privacy rights, information science, and online security. She was dismayed, she said, when her friends and the general public responded to Equifax’s breach with a sense of defeatism.

The general tone after the data breach was largely the question, ‘What can you do?’

“Filing small claims cases is a thing human beings can do,” West said. “It’s not that hard.”

West later paid a $90 filing fee to file her lawsuit against Equifax at her local Orange County Courthouse in Chelsea.

Yet, what West hadn’t expected was to win her case. West said she had expected to lose when Equifax’s representing paralegal pointed to West’s difficulty of proving speculative damages.

On June 4, Judge Bernard Lewis issued a court order declaring West the victor. Equifax will pay the costs of two years worth of online identity protection services and cover the $90 lawsuit filing fee.

West said the ruling of the case shows that it’s worth going up against large corporations even when you’re the underdog. “I’m not even the little guy,” she said. “I’m the microscopic, can’t-even-see-me, speck of dust guy.”

Related posts