Target. (Photo: Jay Reed via Wikimedia Commons.)
A federal panel has ordered about 100 consumer class actions filed against Target Corp. over its data breach transferred to Minnesota, where lawyers in related derivative shareholder actions have moved to appoint lead counsel.
On Dec. 19, Target announced that hackers had compromised debit and credit card transactions at its stores across the country. The breach occurred from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15 and is believed to have affected 110 million customers.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Wednesday sent the litigation to U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson in Minnesota. “Target is headquartered in that district, where 25 actions and potential tag-along actions are pending,” the panel wrote.
Magnuson also is overseeing four derivative shareholder actions against Target arising from the breach. On Thursday, lawyers in those cases filed a stipulation proposing to file a consolidated complaint within 60 days. They also moved to appoint San Diego’s Robbins Arroyo partner Felipe Arroyo and associate Shane Sanders as lead counsel for the plaintiffs.
Target, as nominal defendant, has retained Wendy Wildung, a partner in the Minneapolis office of Faegre Baker Daniels, in those cases.
Having all the data breach cases in Minnesota is a big win for Minneapolis-based Target. Company spokeswoman Molly Snyder declined to comment.
During the panel’s March 27 hearing in San Diego, Target attorney Rebekah Kaufman, chairwoman of the consumer litigation and class action practice at Morrison & Foerster, had fought to move the cases to Minnesota. Plaintiffs lawyers had argued for Colorado, the Northern District of Illinois and various districts in California and Louisiana.
But Bryan Bleichner, a partner at Chestnut Cambronne in Minneapolis, whose colleague, Karl Cambronne, had argued to transfer the cases to Minnesota, said his clients would benefit from a state law that allows banks and credit unions to pursue costs against the retailer associated with reissuing cards and opening and closing customer accounts.
“We believe it to be a rather unique statute,” said Bleichner, whose firm has filed two lawsuits against Target on behalf of banks. “The statute specifies that financial institutions will be able to recover against retailers in such a situation for any of the various losses they might incur.”
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