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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A proposed nationwide class action lawsuit claims that Phoenix, Arizona-based supermarket chain Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. allegedly fell victim to a data breach caused an email “phishing” scam that led the company’s payroll department to voluntarily release the W-2 Wage and Tax Forms of up to 21,000 employees in March 2016, according to a report on the Top Class Actions website.

Top Class Actions reports that lead plaintiff – a former employee of a Sprouts Farmers Market in San Diego, filed a class action lawsuit in California federal court that claimed the company failed to “maintain, protect, and safeguard their tax information” in the data breach “by negligently releasing private tax information to a third party who is believed to using the data for illegal purposes.”

Top Class Actions reported in March 2016 that the data breach occurred when the Sprouts payroll department allegedly responded to an email request from a person “posing as a senior executive of the company” asking for the 2015 IRS form W-2 forms for current and former employees. As a result of the data breach, the lawsuit claims unknown third parties allegedly possess this information now.

The proposed data breach class action lawsuit is Julio Hernandez v. Sprouts Farmers Market Inc., Case No. 16-cv-0958 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The full article from Top Class Actions about the data breach is available at

Data breach lawsuits are becoming more common in today’s digital age. ESR News reported in April 2016 that a federal judge gave final approval to a settlement of approximately $15 million to end a class action lawsuit against Sony Pictures stemming from a massive data breach suffered by the studio in November 2014 that exposed the personal data of thousands of employees online.

This data breach lawsuit settlement underscores why businesses must always ensure information security to prevent embarrassing and costly data breach incidents that can harm a company’s reputation and bottom line. This data breach is just one example among many. For more ESR News Blogs about data breach incidents, visit

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