Judge Approves University of Hawai'i Data Breach Class Action

     First Circuit Judge Patrick Border has approved a class action settlement for victims of five data breaches that occurred at the University of Hawai‘i and its campuses over the past two years. The data breaches potentially exposed personal data of over 90,000 faculty, students, alumni, and guests at University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, University of Hawai‘i at West Oah‘u, Kapio’lani Community College, and Honolulu Community College.

     The lawsuit, which was the first data breach class action brought in the state of Hawai‘i, provides class members with two years of credit monitoring and fraud restoration services.

     “Identity theft is an issue of intense concern,” noted Thomas Grande, one of the attorneys representing the class. “This settlement sets the standard for providing these services to future data breach victims,” Grande noted.

     Bruce Sherman, who also represented the class, said that while data breaches may occur, it is up to the breaching institution to protect the victims. “Data breaches will continue to occur in private companies and in government. We have to make sure that these institutions take prompt action not only to notify the victims, but also to ensure that they can minimize any potential identity theft issues by providing credit monitoring. Credit monitoring provides for continuous checking by a credit agency of a class member’s credit file. If there is suspicious activity, the class member is notified immediately and is given assistance to resolve the problem,” Sherman said.

     “Credit monitoring and credit restoration services may cost as much as $15 to $20 per month if purchased individually. We are extremely pleased that the University has negotiated a settlement package that provides these services to every class member who wants them,” Grande said.

     The University issued the following statement:

  The University of Hawai‘i is pleased that Judge Patrick Border gave final approval to the class action settlement in this case.  The settlement provides that the University will pay for two years of credit monitoring and fraud restoration services to each class member who signs up for the services by May 1, 2012.  The University hopes as many class members as possible will sign up.  The University remains committed to continuing to work to safeguard the personal information of its students, faculty, staff and alumni.  

     The settlement will be administered by Kroll Background America, Inc., a firm specializing in providing credit monitoring and fraud restoration services. Class members were sent a membership code that allows them to sign up online at https://www.idintegrity.com/itm_web/home.jsp or they may call 1-855-205-6935 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Time with questions or for more information. Class members must sign up for benefits on or before May 1, 2012. More information about the settlement is also available at http://UHDataBreachLawsuit.com.