SAN DIEGO (4/1/14)--During a hearing in front of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation Thursday, the attorney for Target Corp. supported the placement of class action lawsuits related to the 2013 data security in the company's home state of Minnesota.
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.
Rebekah Kaufman, Target's lead counsel, said that despite cases being filed in 39 districts, there was a "substantial connection" to Minnesota (Fulton County Daily Report March 31). The company's information technology department is located in Minneapolis, as are many witness and documents.
Plaintiffs attorney Karl Cambronne also argued that Minnesota should be home to the case because of a state statute that prohibits merchants or businesses from retaining magnetic-strip information captured during a transaction.
However, attorneys from California and Illinois cited Target's relationships with third parties in their states as a reason why the cases should not be moved.
A California company that provided malware protection to Target "will be a major component witness," said attorney Aashish Desai.
Chicago attorney Robert Clifford argued to keep the cases in the Northern District of Illinois, adding that state Attorney General Lisa Madigan was spearheading investigations for fellow attorneys general.
The panel also heard from attorneys from Louisiana and Colorado.
The cases have been stayed until a decision is issued by the panel, which typically issues rulings several weeks following its hearings.
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. (See related story: Texas House committee hears from CU CEO about data security.)
Credit unions interested in possibly bringing litigation against Target are encouraged to contact CUNA's Legal Department for more information.