Lead Counsel Named in Yahoo Data Breach Class Action Suit
Yahoo unveiled two major data breaches last year, and the fallout from the 2013 breach has triggered a class action lawsuit. John A. Yanchunis of Morgan & Morgan and ClassAction.com have been named Lead Plaintiffs’ Counsel by the Northern District of California.
While four firms, Morgan & Morgan; Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer; Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check; and Susman Godfrey, had filed to serve as lead counsel, Yanchunis argued that a large firm, such as Morgan & Morgan, which has over 300 attorneys, would be best positioned to take on such a large case. Approximately one billion users were affected by the 2013 breach. Yahoo’s 2014 breach had compromised 500 million users’ data.
“Every privacy case is significant,” Mr. Yanchunis said, “but this is significant because of its breadth.”
The other firms argued that, despite the immense size of the case, it was not as complex as it appeared. They also argued a single firm should handle the case instead of the committee of firms headed by Yanchunis.
U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh said they made “excellent points” but disagreed. Judge Koh weighed the following criteria when determining whom to name Lead Counsel:
- “Knowledge and experience in prosecuting complex litigation, including class actions, data breach, and/or privacy cases”
- “Willingness and ability to commit to a time-consuming process”
- “Ability to work cooperatively and efficiently with others”
- “Access to sufficient resources to prosecute the litigation in a timely manner”
- “Commitment to prioritizing the interests of the putative class”
Yanchunis and Morgan & Morgan certainly have experience, as they have previously litigated two massive data breach class action suits: Home Depot and Target. Home Depot settled for $13 million, and Target settled for $10 million.
Lead Counsel and the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee must review and record the billing records and “impose and enforce limits on the number of lawyers assigned to each task,” among other duties. Primarily, Plaintiffs claim they are trying to hold Yahoo accountable for allegedly endangering the identities of millions of Yahoo users.
Yahoo is also embroiled in a class action lawsuit with shareholders, who are represented by Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check.