Lawsuit filed in Northern District of California alleges theft of transactional and other private banking data belonging to tens of millions of consumers
San Francisco, CA – (PRWeb) – On behalf of consumers in California and across the nation, the law firms of Herrera Purdy LLP, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and Burns Charest LLP have filed a federal class action lawsuit against fintech infrastructure company Plaid Inc., which agreed to be purchased by Visa for $5.3 billion in January 2020.
The lawsuit alleges that Plaid violates consumer privacy and computer data protection laws by collecting consumers’ sensitive bank login information through software embedded in a host of fintech apps such as Venmo, Coinbase, Square’s Cash App, and Stripe. Plaid then uses the credentials to access and capture years of transaction and other confidential data from all of the consumers’ accounts with the bank, all without consumers’ knowledge or consent.
As the complaint notes, Plaid’s software is designed to spoof banks’ websites so that consumers will feel more comfortable entering their login information, but in reality, consumers using fintech apps with Plaid’s software are unwittingly handing their login information directly to Plaid. “By concealing its true role, Plaid has amassed for itself what it calls one of the largest transactional data sets in the world, with private banking data collected from 200 million accounts,” said attorney Shawn Kennedy of Herrera Purdy, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Plaintiffs.
The lawsuit also alleges that once Plaid establishes a connection with a consumer’s bank, it downloads all available data—including years’ worth of transaction history—for every account the consumer has connected to that bank (such as checking, savings, credit card, and brokerage accounts), regardless of whether the data in any of the accounts bears any relationship to the app for which the consumer signed up. Plaintiffs’ co-counsel Rachel Geman of Lieff Cabraser explained, “With the rapid growth of fintech apps, it is imperative to protect the privacy of consumers and to cement and enforce meaningful consent.”
The complaint also points out that, by removing consumers’ sensitive financial information from the secure banking environment, Plaid strips consumers of important rights and protections. “Despite Plaid’s assurances that its software is secure, Plaid’s actions expose consumers’ sensitive login information to malicious actors and leave consumers vulnerable to data breach and theft,” said Plaintiffs’ co-counsel Christopher Cormier of Burns Charest.
The lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief requiring Plaid to cease its misconduct, purge the data it has unlawfully collected, notify consumers of its misconduct, and inform consumers of the steps they can take to protect themselves from further invasions. It also seeks damages and disgorgement based upon Plaid’s misconduct and unjust enrichment.
Cottle, et al. v. Plaid Inc., case 4:20-cv-03056 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
About Herrera Purdy LLP
Herrera Purdy is a law firm with offices throughout California that specializes in complex litigation. The firm’s attorneys have litigated high-stakes class actions in courts around the nation and leverage their extensive software and technology expertise to navigate even the most intricate and novel data privacy cases. In a world where consumers’ most sensitive personal information often is stored and communicated electronically via smartphones, apps and cloud technology, Herrera Purdy is leading the way to protect consumers’ fundamental privacy rights.
About Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Recognized as “one of the nation’s premier plaintiffs’ firms” by The American Lawyer, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is a 100-plus attorney law firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, Nashville, and Munich. Since our founding in 1972, Lieff Cabraser has litigated and tried and/or resolved hundreds of class action lawsuits and thousands of individual cases, effecting important practice changes and recovering billions of dollars for our clients. Lieff Cabraser’s Cybersecurity and Data Privacy practice group is also nationally recognized, having won the National Law Journal’s 2019 Elite Trial Lawyers award for privacy and data breach litigation. Additionally, the practice group was named Law360’s 2017 Data Privacy Practice Group of the Year.
About Burns Charest LLP
Burns Charest LLP is a respected boutique trial law firm that represents clients in state and federal courts nationwide in large, complex class actions; antitrust cases; oil and gas royalty disputes; environmental pollution cases; mass torts; and asbestos exposure claims. The firm’s attorneys have obtained billions of dollars for their clients in verdicts and settlements, and they have been honored repeatedly by leading industry publications like Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation, Lawdragon, and Who’s Who Legal. The firm has offices in Dallas, New Orleans and Denver. To learn more, visit https://www.burnscharest.com.
Shawn M. Kennedy
Herrera Purdy LLP
4590 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 500
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Telephone: (949) 936-0900
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Telephone: (212) 355-9500
Christopher J. Cormier
Burns Charest LLP
Telephone: (720) 630-2092