A string of consolidated lawsuits against Atlanta-based Equifax stemming from a 2017 data breach that affected more than 146 million consumers may go forward, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled Monday.

Calling the data breach that affected nearly half the U.S. population “unprecedented,” Chief Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. largely rejected arguments by Equifax lawyers that he dismiss pending lawsuits filed on behalf of consumers whose personal and financial information was exposed, and financial institutions that issued debit or credit cards to affected customers and were then faced with helping customers clean up the resulting mess.

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