An Inside Look at Data Breach Cases with Judge Facciola
March 25 / 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Computer invasions or “hacks” have become so common that the cynical say that the question is not whether you will be hacked but when. What can be a devastating loss of privacy followed by misuse of personal, private information, including its migration to the “dark web,” has generated complicated lawsuits. How do courts manage cases where there are thousands of potential plaintiffs? John M. Facciola, a retired United States Magistrate Judge and an adjunct professor, has had a unique perspective on such lawsuits. Serving as a Special Master in a large data breach cases, he will explain how the Multi-District Litigation (“MDL”) panel assigns a case and how an MDL judge manages a case with hundreds of plaintiffs from nearly every state. Does the MDL judge appoint lead counsel, and what criteria are used? How does this assignment and others like it affect lawyers’ compensation? What part of the case does the MDL judge keep, and what does she send back to the transferee court? How does the judge make the decision, and what are its consequences? He will also discuss what claims of relief are usually asserted in data breach cases and how are the federal courts resolving whether the victims of a data breach have Article III standing to survive the inevitable motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. Data breach cases are usually class actions. The Supreme Court will hear an argument in March on a complicated question of the certification of a class action when it is claimed that the class representative is not representative of the class. Facciola will discuss whether the court’s decision could significantly impact the viability of class actions and either threaten or strengthen their use in a data breach case. Is litigation the best way to handle this problem? Where, if anywhere, are these cases headed, and do they add or detract from increasing access to justice?