chicksdaddy writes: You would think that the "damages" caused by massive online thefts, like those leveled against Target, Home Depot and Anthem Healthcare are self evident. But companies are arguing hard that they can't be sued for damages resulting from data breaches, because the "victims" can't show that they were harmed by the theft. That was the case back in June, when lawyers for Home Depot filed a motion to have a case linked to the compromise at that company dropped. The case was brought by customers whose data was stolen in the attack, but Home Depot's attorneys argued that those customers couldn't prove that they were harmed by the theft of their credit card information. Now a judge in San Francisco has dealt a blow to would-be defendants in a case against Anthem. In an opinion released on Sunday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh found that the loss of personal information in the breach of Anthem constitutes harm under New York's General Business Law. The ruling rejected arguments from Anthem and its lawyers that no direct harm resulted from the breach, which was first disclosed in February 2015. In her decision in the Anthem case, Koh reasoned that the theft of personal identification information is harm to consumers in itself, regardless of whether any subsequent misuse of it can be proven. Allegations of a "concrete and imminent threat of future harm" are enough to establish an injury and standing in the early stages of a breach suit, she said.