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UH settles class action lawsuit on breaches of personal data

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:04 p.m. HST, Jan 26, 2012

Nearly 100,000 University of Hawaii students, alumni, employees and others potentially affected by five breaches of personal data from 2009 to 2011 will receive two years of credit-monitoring and fraud-restoration services, under a settlement to a class action lawsuit announced today.

The settlement to Gross v. University of Hawaii will apply to about 98,000 people potentially affected by the data breaches at UH-Manoa, UH-West Oahu, and Kapiolani and Honolulu community colleges, the parties said in a news release.

The settlement is subject to court approval.

Class members will be sent a letter by March 1 that will allow them to sign up for the credit-monitoring services online. University faculty, students, and alumni will also be sent e-mails to inform them of the credit-monitoring services.

The settlement will be administered by Kroll Background America, Inc., a firm specializing in providing credit monitoring and fraud restoration services, the news release said.

"Credit monitoring services may cost as much as $5 to $15 per month if purchased individually. We are extremely pleased that the university has negotiated a settlement package that provides these services to every class member who wants them," said Thomas Grande, one of the lawyers who represents the plaintiffs.

Bruce Sherman, another lawyer representing the class, said they looked at more than 40 cases of data breaches at other universities, and that in most cases the affected people were offered two years of credit-monitoring and fraud-restoration services.

The university's statement said it has denied liability, and added: "We are pleased to settle this case by providing two years of credit monitoring and credit restoration services to those class members who request it. The University continues to work diligently so that the chance of future data breaches is significantly reduced. Given the uncertainties and expense of litigation, the University believes this settlement is in the best interests of the University and its entire Ohana."

Information regarding the settlement and class members can be found at

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