Target to Seek Lawsuit DismissalsRequests Court Halt Discovery Process in Class Actions
Target Corp. has requested that a U.S. district court halt the discovery process for class action lawsuits stemming from its December 2013 data breach until the court can consider its forthcoming motions to dismiss most of the suits (see: Target Breach Lawsuits Consolidated).
"The experiences of courts and litigants with similar motions to dismiss in data breach related class actions instruct that Target has a substantial likelihood of succeeding in seeking dismissal of all or most of the claims anticipated in the consolidated complaints," attorneys for Target said in a July 3 filing. "Given the burden that discovery regarding potentially moot questions would impose on the parties and this court, good cause exists for continuing the discovery stay for a few months until the motions to dismiss can be resolved."
Attorneys for Target did not immediately respond to a request for additional information, and Target officials declined to comment.
Wendy Wildung, partner at Faegre Baker Daniels, who's representing Target throughout the litigation process, first requested the opportunity for Target to file a formal motion to halt the discovery process "pending briefing on motions to dismiss" during a June 25 status briefing. Wildung stated that the discovery process would be "very burdensome and expensive" for both sides.
In arguing that Target likely would succeed in getting the cases dismissed, Wildung said: "In consumer cases that have been brought across the country, the vast majority of them have been dismissed. The kinds of injury they claim is really the threat or risk of future harm, and courts have pretty universally found that to be insufficient."
Regarding cases filed on behalf of banks, Wildung said the financial institutions "have no business relationship with Target, Target has no contracts with them and, so, there's a threshold duty question."
Target has also had discussions with the plaintiffs in cases filed on behalf of consumers regarding the possibility of an early case resolution, Wildung said. "The parties have agreed on a mediator. And we have reserved a date for an early mediation in the consumer cases," which is set for August 11.
Back in May, dozens of class action lawsuits filed on behalf of banking institutions, consumers and shareholders against Target were consolidated into three groups.
More than 140 lawsuits, including 29 brought on behalf of banks and credit unions, were consolidated before U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson on May 14, according to local news publication Pioneer Press.
In their lawsuits, banking institutions claim Target should be responsible for card re-issuance and replacement expenses that card issuers have incurred as a result of the retailer's breach, which is estimated to have exposed some 40 million debit and credit cards.
More information on the lawsuits and court proceedings can be found here.