A Federal judge on Oct. 14 granted final approval for the $63 million settlement for victims of the 2015 Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach, ending a seven-year legal battle over one of the Federal government’s largest publicly reported security failures.

During a fairness hearing on Friday, District Judge Amy Berman Jackson at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found the settlement “fair, reasonable, and adequate,” Jordan Elias, a lawyer for the plaintiffs at the law firm Girard Sharp, told MeriTalk.

Jackson gave preliminary approval of the settlement on June 7.

Elias said a written order is expected soon, and victims of the hack will have until Dec. 23 to make claims at www.opmdatabreach.com/home/submitclaim. Those with valid claims will receive at least $700 – and up to $10,000.

The 2015 hack rocked the government cybersecurity community and exposed data on millions of Federal employees to Chinese state-sponsored hackers.

The class action lawsuit stems from a breach of OPM’s electronic information systems in 2014 and 2015, and the breach of government contractor Peraton’s electronic information systems in 2013 and 2014. As a result of the breaches, the personal information of about 22 million Federal employees and job applicants was compromised.

According to the OPM data breach website, 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 an out-of-pocket expense or lost 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; or
  3. Mitigate an identity theft incident.

Everett Kelley, the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), applauded the court’s final approval and called the decision “a significant victory for rank-and-file Federal employees.”

“AFGE is very happy the court granted final approval to this multi-million-dollar settlement,” Kelley said in a statement to MeriTalk. “AFGE was pleased to be able to step forward as a plaintiff with the firm Girard Sharp as counsel and help make this settlement happen. We look forward to continuing to educate our members whose personal information was compromised in this data breach about how they can take part in this settlement and receive the compensation they are due under the law.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.