Data Breach at Burkhart Dental Supply Compromises Sensitive Customer Data – JD Supra

data-breach-at-burkhart-dental-supply-compromises-sensitive-customer-data-–-jd-supra

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In recent news, the Tacoma, Washington-based dental supply company Burkhart Dental Supply Co. Inc., announced that the company experienced a data security incident. As a result, certain customers’ names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and driver’s license numbers or State identification numbers were compromised. On April 20, 2022, Burkhart Dental Supply sent out data breach letters to all affected parties.

If you received a data breach notification, it is essential you understand what is at risk and what you can do about it. To learn more about how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft and what your legal options are in the wake of the Burkhart Dental Supply data breach, please see our recent piece on the topic here.

What We Know About the Burkhart Dental Supply Data Breach

Burkhart Dental Supply Co. Inc. only recently disclosed details about the October 2021 data breach. While additional details are expected in the coming weeks, what we know so far is that on or around October 7, 2021, the company first detected a possible data security incident. While Burkhart Dental Supply does not elaborate on what led to the incident, on March 3, 2022, the company was able to confirm that the breach resulted in the names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and driver’s license and identification numbers of certain customers being exposed. Subsequently, on April 20, 2022, Burkhart Dental Supply sent out data breach letters to those people whose information was compromised as a result of the breach.

Burkhart Dental Supply Co. Inc. was founded in 1888 in Tacoma, Washington, originally under the name “Tacoma Dental Depot.” Since then, the company has grown significantly, expanding to include 18 branches located concentrated in the western and southern states. As a dental supply company, Burkhart Dental Supply provides various equipment and supplies to dentists and related practitioners across the country. Burkhart Dental Supply employs over 400 people and generates annual revenue of approximately $153 million.

Do Burkhart Dental Supply Data Breach Victims Have a Legal Remedy Against the Company?

Under the United States data breach laws, consumers whose personal protected information is exposed in a data breach may be able to bring a class action data breach lawsuit against the company responsible for maintaining their information. Data breach lawsuits are most often based on the legal concept of negligence. Thus, if a company’s negligence resulted in consumer information being compromised, the company may be liable.

In the data breach context, there are a number of ways in which a company might have acted negligently with regard to consumer information. Below is a list of possible reasons that could form the basis of a data breach class action lawsuit:

  • An employee fails to follow company procedures when dealing with consumer data;

  • A company fails to employ a useful data security system, or uses an outdated system;

  • A company inadvertently sends consumer information to an unauthorized party; or

  • An employee responds to a phishing attack, either by clicking on a link or providing sensitive information to an unauthorized party.

Of course, these are just a few of the ways that an organization can be negligent in how it maintains consumer data. Importantly, there is not yet any evidence suggesting that Burkhart Dental Supply was negligent; however, the investigation into the breach is ongoing. If evidence emerges that Burkhart Dental Supply was negligent in the storage of consumer data or failed to maintain the necessary security protocols, the company may be liable through a data breach class action lawsuit.

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