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No Consolidation for First American Financial Data Breach Suits

Oct. 3, 2019, 1:45 PM

Suits against title insurer First American Financial Corp., stemming from a data breach that resulted in the exposure of millions of records, won’t be combined in a single federal court, a special panel of judges said.

Centralization isn’t necessary for just and efficient conduct of the litigation, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation said.

Plaintiffs alleged First American failed to protect the confidential information of millions of consumers nationwide—including their names, bank account numbers, and Social Security numbers.

But there are a relatively small number of suits involved, and most are pending in the Central District of California, the panel said. First American has filed a motion to transfer a suit pending in Eastern Michigan to the Central District of California, it said.

There were 14 suits pending at the time of the motion to combine the suits, the panel said.

Centralization should be a last resort after review of other options to streamline litigation, the panel said.

“Even if the pending transfer motion doesn’t eliminate the multidistrict character of this litigation, voluntary cooperation and coordination among the small number of involved courts appears eminently feasible,” the panel said Oct. 2.

The panel encouraged the parties to work to minimize any potential for duplicative discovery and inconsistent pretrial rulings in the litigation.

The Kazerouni Law Group, APC filed the motion for transfer. Dentons US LLP represented First American.

The case is In re: First American Financial Corp. Cust. Data Security Breach Litig., J.P.M.L., MDL No. 2907, 10/2/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Steinberg in Washington at jsteinberg@bloomberglaw.com

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