SAN DIEGO (4/8/14)--The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation determined data security breach class action lawsuits against Target Corp. will be consolidated in the District of Minnesota for the purposes of discovery and pre-trial motions.
In the transfer order, the panel noted, "On the basis of the papers filed and hearing session held, we find that these actions involve common questions of fact, and that centralization in the District of Minnesota will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation."
More than 100 lawsuits have been filed on behalf of consumers, whose information was compromised, and financial institutions, which had to cover costs of reissuing cards and reimbursing consumers. The retail giant revealed Dec. 19 that about 40 million debit and credit card numbers were compromised as was the personal information of as many as 70 million customers.
Thirty-three actions from 18 districts will be moved to Minnesota. Another 71 related actions are pending in 35 districts and are potential "tag-along" actions, the panel said.
"Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, including with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary," the panel said. Actual trials may still take place in various jurisdictions.
Also, Target's headquarters are located in the district, and 25 actions and potential "tag-along" actions are pending in the district before U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson. Target itself supported centralizing the proceedings in Minnesota.
Last week, plaintiffs' attorneys from Minnesota, California, Colorado, Illinois and Louisiana brought their arguments before the panel regarding jurisdiction consolidation (News Now April 1).
The Credit Union National Association found that credit unions incurred $30.6 million in costs directly related to the breach--not including fraud costs--and is pressing federal lawmakers to address data security relative to merchants, who are not held to the same standards of security as credit union and other financial institutions.