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Capital One, Breach Victims Don’t Agree on Where to Send Suits

Sept. 25, 2019, 8:50 AM

Capital One Financial Corp. faces over 60 class actions filed since it disclosed in July a massive data breach implicating the personal information of millions of customers.

The parties generally agree the suits, filed in over a dozen different federal courts by over 100 plaintiffs’ firms, should be consolidated into multidistrict litigation in one court for combined proceedings. But they don’t agree on which court should oversee the litigation.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will consider Sept. 26 whether to send the suits to a court located near Capital One’s headquarters, where the hacking occurred, or somewhere else.

The first class actions were filed July 30. Plaintiffs’ firms Keller Rohrback LLP and Ahdoot & Wolfson P.C. filed one of them in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The next day it asked the JPML to combine the suits there, arguing the hacker committed her crime in Seattle and a criminal case is already proceeding against her in that city.

Nussbaum Law Group P.C. has filed seven class actions in the District of D.C., and asked the JPML Aug. 2 to consolidate the litigation there. The court is near Capital One’s headquarters in McLean, Va., and it has experience with complex litigation and data breach cases, it argues.

Other plaintiffs have weighed in to support these motions or to propose other transferee forums including the Eastern District of Virginia and the Northern District of California.

Capital One argues the suits should be moved to the Eastern District of Virginia’s Alexandria court because of its proximity to its headquarters. That court and the District of D.C. are almost exactly the same distance from McLean, and the Alexandria court has a reputation for resolving complex litigation quickly, the company said.

The other proposed forums have no meaningful connection to the litigation, it said.

Amazon.com Inc. is named as a defendant in many but not all of the suits against Capital One because Amazon Web Services Inc. stores the bank’s data. It agrees with Capital One that the court in Alexandria is the best forum.

The panel should make a decision within a week of the hearing.

King & Spalding LLP and Troutman Sanders LLP represent Capital One.

The case is In re Capital One Customer Data Sec. Breach Litig., J.P.M.L., No. 2915, hearing 9/26/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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