A Federal judge in D.C. on June 7 gave preliminarily approval to a $63 million settlement of a class action lawsuit brought by victims of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breaches in 2014 and 2015 that rocked the government cybersecurity community and exposed data on millions of Federal employees to Chinese state-sponsored hackers.

The lead counsel in the class action said that individual victims are in line for minimum payments of $700 each under the terms of the settlement, which still needs to be finalized.

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In a court order, U.S. District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote that she “approves the settlement … as fair, reasonable, and adequate, and in the best interest of named plaintiffs and class members.”

The preliminary settlement agreement will be subject to further consideration at a fairness hearing set for Oct. 14.

The class action lawsuit stems from a breach of electronic information systems that were operated by Peraton, a government contractor, in 2013 and 2014. As a result of the breaches, personal information on 22 million Federal employees and job applicants was compromised.

The plaintiffs class includes “all U.S. citizens and permanent residents whose personal information was compromised as a result of the breaches” of OPM’s systems and who may have suffered out-of-pocket expenses or loss of compensable time to:

  1. Purchase credit monitoring, credit or identity theft protection, or other products or services designed to identify and remediate data breaches;
  2. Access, freeze or unfreeze a credit report with a credit reporting agency; and
  3. Mitigate an identity theft incident.

The settlement, if it receives final approval, would end a seven-year legal battle and provide a minimum of $700 payments to victims. Claims for anyone who may have suffered out-of-pocket expenses can be submitted up until Dec. 22.

Jordan Elias, a partner with Girard Sharp who represents the plaintiffs, said of the settlement: “Under the circumstances that we faced, we think it’s pretty darn good.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.