Robbins Geller Appointed to Leadership Role in Yahoo! Data Breach Litigation
On February 9, 2017, the Honorable Lucy H. Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California appointed Robbins Geller partner Stuart Davidson to the five-lawyer Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee charged with overseeing what may be the largest data breach lawsuit in history, In re Yahoo! Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation. In September 2016, Yahoo! announced that up to 500 million user accounts had been breached by hackers in 2014, resulting in the exposure of user names, hashed passwords, birthdates and security questions. The company made another announcement in December 2016 that more than one billion user accounts had also been breached in August 2013. Yahoo! customers worldwide have been significantly impacted, from identity and credit theft to bank fraud.
This appointment comes on the heels of numerous successes the Firm has had in the privacy area, serving as lead or co-lead counsel in one of the nation’s first privacy law class actions (Kehoe v. Fidelity Federal, which settled for $50 million), in the widely publicized class action involving a data breach of Sony’s PlayStation network, to a cutting edge case against Facebook involving its collection and use of biometric identifiers.
Boca Raton Managing Partner Paul Geller was pleased to see Davidson’s appointment: “While I won’t go so far as to call it a passing of the torch, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize that Stu has been my right hand in every data breach case that I’ve had the privilege of leading. I think Judge Koh made a wise decision in appointing Stu, as he is one of the top attorneys in this growing and changing field.”
With a putative class of tens of millions of consumers, the highly publicized Yahoo! litigation consists of numerous cases involving two massive data breaches at the technology company that were consolidated and transferred to Judge Koh as a Multi-District Litigation, or MDL. The MDL includes allegations that Yahoo! failed to maintain adequate security measures to protect customer data, failed to timely disclose the security breaches, and that customer information remains vulnerable. After receiving the order appointing counsel, Davidson said, “This is an important case, and I take Judge Koh's appointment not as a compliment or a congratulations, but rather as a challenge and a commitment to achieve the best result possible for the consumers that the team and I are privileged to represent.”
In re Yahoo! Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, Case No. 16-MD-02752-LHK, Order Selecting Lead Plaintiffs’ Counsel and Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (N.D. Cal. Feb. 9, 2017).