Woman sues Best Buy for $54 million over lost laptop

— 4:21 PM on February 12, 2008

You may already have heard of the $54 million pants—a pair of pants allegedly lost by a dry cleaner, causing their owner to sue the store for $54 million. Today, we're hearing that a D.C. woman is suing Best Buy for the same amount. The new lawsuit isn't over lost pants, but a laptop loaded with invaluable data and personal information that disappeared while in Best Buy's custody.

As MSNBC reports, Raelyn Campbell purchased the system at a local Best Buy store in 2006, and she brought the machine back in for repairs after its on/off switch broke in mid-2007. Three months and several promises of the laptop's imminent arrival later, she says Best Buy admitted that it had lost the machine and offered to compensate her—to the tune of a $900 gift card, worth about 20% less than the $1100 she had paid for the machine and extended warranty coverage.

Best Buy stepped up its compensation offer when Campbell complained to the D.C. attorney general's office. However, after learning from a lawyer that Best Buy had violated district security rules by failing to notify her of personal information loss, she ended up filing the $54 million suit. The laptop contained Campbell's tax returns, she claims, potentially allowing anyone who appropriated her notebook to steal her identity.

Campbell tells MSNBC she doesn't expect to win the $54 million (in fact, she picked the same amount as the dry cleaning lawsuit to draw attention). However, she says she wants damages for negligence and an explanation of how her machine was stolen despite being stored in a secure area of the store. She also wants Best Buy to train employees on privacy issues.

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