E-retailer Bonobos beats lawsuit over 2020 data breach – Reuters

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  • Walmart subsidiary faced claims over stolen data
  • Judge found identity theft risk "too remote"

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(Reuters) - E-commerce menswear company Bonobos Inc on Wednesday won its bid to dismiss a lawsuit related to a 2020 data breach, as a Manhattan federal judge found a New York online shopper lacks standing to bring the claims.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman tossed the proposed class action against the New York-based subsidiary of Walmart Inc, in a decision in which he weighed factors related to showing a "substantial" risk of identity theft or fraud to pursue a data breach lawsuit in federal court.

"Put simply, given the age and nature of the data, the risk of identity theft or fraud is too remote to constitute injury in fact," the judge wrote.

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Plaintiff Bradley Cooper of New York filed his lawsuit last year alleging hackers accessed a Bonobos external cloud backup database in August 2020, stole "some or all of" its seven million online customers' personal information and posted the data to a "hacker website forum." Cooper had entered his personal data in 2013. Bonobos sent notices to customers, including Cooper, in January 2021, the complaint said.

The judge in the Wednesday decision evaluated Cooper's claims of injury against factors including whether the data was intentionally stolen, if the data has been misused and whether the information is "sensitive" in nature.

Ruling in Bonobos' favor, he found the plaintiff "fails to allege any injuries that are 'certainly impending' or based on a 'substantial risk that the harm will occur.'"

A Walmart representative said in an email: “We appreciate the court’s thorough review and thoughtful decision dismissing Mr. Cooper’s case. We have always taken our customers’ privacy seriously and will continue to do so.” A lawyer for the plaintiff from George Gesten McDonald did not reply to a request for comment.

The case is Cooper v. Bonobos Inc, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1: 21-cv-00854.

For the plaintiff: Lori Feldman of George Gesten McDonald

For Bonobos: Michelle Kisloff of Hogan Lovells

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Sara Merken

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at [email protected]

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