Despite the several dozen class action-styled lawsuits filed against retailer Target, following the late-2013 discovery that hackers had stolen millions of customers' credit and debit card numbers and contact information, it was a certainty that one line was never going to be spoken in any courtroom: ladies and gentlemen of the jury. That the Target class actions would be resolved by settlement was as predictable as the outcome of an NCAA Basketball Tournament game between a number one and number 16 seed.

So it could not have come as a surprise to anyone when, on March 19, just a little over a year after the first data breach lawsuits were filed, the announcement came from a Minnesota federal court: Target would be filling up a shopping cart with cash to put the matter behind it. The settlement, albeit subject to final approval in November, looks like this. Target will put $10 million into a fund to be used to pay its affected customers—"guests" as it prefers to call them. The court will be asked to approve $6.75 million in attorney's fees on top of that. Target will also be saddled with several million dollars in administrative costs. In an Associated Press story, Vincent Esades, the lead counsel for the plaintiffs, stated that Target's total settlement costs could reach $25 million.

The settlement calls for two types of recoveries. Those able to prove that they actually suffered financial losses, on account of their personal or financial information being compromised, can recover up to $10,000. Such losses could be for, among other things, unauthorized credit or debit card charges that were unreimbursed (that is, if a bank somehow did not remove an unauthorized charge), the time spent addressing such charges (up to two hours at $10 per hour), hiring someone to help correct their credit report, higher interest rates, purchasing credit monitor services, and so on. Surely there are people out there in this category—but not many (especially if the claims are carefully scrutinized).

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