NEW YORK, Feb. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- In an order filed Thursday, February 9, 2017 in the Northern District of California, U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh appointed John A. Yanchunis of Morgan & Morgan and ClassAction.com to serve as Lead Plaintiffs' Counsel and Chair of the Plaintiffs' Executive Committee.
Four firms filed motions to serve as lead counsel: Morgan & Morgan, Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP, Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check LLP, and Susman Godfrey LLP. At a hearing in San Jose before Judge Koh made her decision, Mr. Yanchunis argued that a large firm like Morgan & Morgan—with more than 300 attorneys at its disposal—would be the best choice to take on a case of such magnitude.
"Every privacy case is significant," Mr. Yanchunis said, "but this is significant because of its breadth."
Mr. Yanchunis was referring to the far-reaching impact of Yahoo's 2013 data breach, which compromised the data of roughly one billion users. A separate breach in 2014 compromised 500 million users' data.
The other firms who filed motions to serve as lead counsel argued that the case was not as complex as it appeared, despite its mammoth size. They also claimed that a single firm should work the case, instead of the committee of firms helmed by Mr. Yanchunis.
Judge Koh thought they made "excellent points," but ultimately disagreed.
Joining Mr. Yanchunis on the Executive Committee are Gayle Blatt of Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield LLP, Stuart Davidson of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP, Karen Riebel of Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP, and Ariana Tadler of Milberg LLP.
As Lead Counsel and the Plaintiffs' Executive Committee, Mr. Yanchunis and the abovementioned attorneys must review and record all billing records and "impose and enforce limits on the number of lawyers assigned to each task," among other key duties.
In determining whom to name Lead Counsel, Judge Koh weighed the following "chief criteria":
- "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"
The first criterion, experience, may have clinched the win for Mr. Yanchunis. He and Morgan & Morgan previously litigated two massive data breach class actions—the Home Depot Inc. and Target Corp. cases. Those lawsuits were settled for $13 million (Home Depot) and $10 million (Target), respectively.
Now Yanchunis and his team will take on the biggest breach of all, and try to hold Yahoo accountable for allegedly endangering the privacies and identities of hundreds of millions of people.
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Case No. 16-MD-02752-LHK
Yahoo! Inc. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation
Media Contact: Erika Nedwell, 212-738-6265, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Morgan & Morgan