U of M facing federal lawsuit over recent data breach

Two former University of Minnesota employees have filed a federal lawsuit against the school over a recently reported data breach.

Court records show the class-action lawsuit was filed Friday, just days after the university confirmed a data breach was under investigation, in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota.

RELATED: U of M investigating data breach; scope of hack still unclear

The filing names Geoff Dittberner and Mary Wint, along with any others affected by the breach, as the plaintiffs. The lawsuit states that Dittberner attended the university from 2012 to 2015 and again in 2019 but also worked for the university as a government relations office assistant while working on his undergraduate degree. Wint said she worked as a university employee for around 20 years.

In the lawsuit, the two claim that the data breach “has already had serious consequences and will continue to do so,” adding that the university failed to take reasonable data security measures to protect the personal information of millions of people or to notify those affected in a timely manner.

The U of M said last week that it first learned about the possible breach on July 21 but didn’t send out any notice to students, faculty and staff until last week. The university added that it hired digital forensics professionals, notified law enforcement and started investigating as soon as it learned about the breach.

The lawsuit seeks an amount to be determined at trial but says its claims exceed $5 million in costs.

A spokesperson for the U of M told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the university doesn’t comment on pending litigation but “the safety and privacy of all members of the University community are among our top priorities.”