December 7, 2021

Volume XI, Number 341

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December 07, 2021

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December 06, 2021

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In re Blackbaud MDL: Putative Class Representatives May Seek Discovery That Bears On Their Standing To Bring Suit

Long-time readers of CPW will recall that we’ve previously covered In re Blackbaud, a data privacy multi-district litigation (“MDL”) currently pending in the District of South Carolina.  The defendant in the MDL is a cloud software company that suffered multiple ransomware attacks and data breaches between February and May 2020.  The plaintiffs are individuals and putative class representatives who were notified by the defendant’s customers of the potential disclosure of their information via these attacks and breaches.  Although the MDL is in its early stages, the court recently issued an interesting opinion regarding discovery, In re Blackbaud, Inc., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67594, that merits attention.

Currently in the litigation the parties are disputing foundational issues of jurisdiction, standing, and forum selection.  The plaintiffs requested that the defendant identify all of its customers who were notified of the attacks and breaches.  The defendant argued that the requested discovery was irrelevant, overbroad, and unduly burdensome at this stage of the litigation, and should be saved for the class certification process, when broader discovery generally occurs.  The court disagreed with defendant, and ordered the production.

In the court’s view, the defendant’s notifications to its customers were relevant to determining whether the disclosure of information was fairly traceable to defendant’s actions, as required for standing under Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins.  Many putative class representatives received notifications from the defendant’s customers stating that their personal information had been compromised, but those notifications did not specify whether their information had been compromised in the specific breaches at issue in this litigation.  The notifications would shed light on whether the representatives had actually been injured in the breaches at issue in this case, or instead by some other breach.  Because the discovery went directly to the ability of the named plaintiffs to bring suit, as opposed to the size and scope of the class, the court held that the requested discovery was proper at this stage.

We’ll keep an eye on any more interesting developments that come along in this MDL.  And for more on the ever-changing area of data privacy litigation, stay tuned.  CPW will be there.

© Copyright 2021 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 102
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About this Author

Jesse Taylor Associate  Columbus complex contract, franchise law, qui tam litigation
Associate

Jesse Taylor practices in state and federal court, with experience in complex contract and franchise law and qui tam litigation.

Prior to joining Squire Patton Boggs, he worked as a litigation associate in another top 20 international law firm. Previously, Jesse served as a law clerk to the Honorable Judith E. Levy, US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, and to the Honorable James G. Carr, US District Court, Northern District of Ohio. In addition to his law firm experience and clerkships, Jesse worked as the online communications director for the Office of the...

614-365-2714
Kristin L. Bryan Litigation Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Cleveland, OH & New York, NY
Senior Associate

Kristin Bryan is a litigator experienced in the efficient resolution of contract, commercial and complex business disputes, including multidistrict litigation and putative class actions, in courts nationwide.

She has successfully represented Fortune 15 clients in high-stakes cases involving a wide range of subject matters.

As a natural extension of her experience litigating data privacy disputes, Kristin is also experienced in providing business-oriented privacy advice to a wide range of clients, with a particular focus on companies handling customers’ personal data. In this...

216-479-8070
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