Federal courts historically have been quick to dismiss plaintiff claims of on-going harm when their data is snatched in a breach, but a crack is appearing in that logic that could change how liability is gauged for hacked corporations and fuel class-action lawsuits against those companies.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit began to question the depth of ongoing harm to victims by overturning a district court that had tossed a class-action lawsuit against Neiman Marcus over a 2014 data breach. The Court said victims had "standing," a right to file a lawsuit in federal court, over concerns of on-going problems.

"The court likened the case to a recent data breach involving Adobe, wherein the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California declared that 'the risk that Plaintiffs' personal data will be misused by the hackers who breached Adobe's network is immediate and very real,' " lawyers from Ballard Spahr, a national law firm based in Philadelphia, wrote in a review of the ruling.

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